Published on August 18th, 2014 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez0
APRC Rally 2014, GAURAV GILL Wins The Malaysian Leg
Indian driver, Gaurav Gill and do-driver Glenn Macneall of Team MRF aims to win in Johor has finally came true this weekend. His experience in the roads of Kota Tinggi proved very useful as he outrun his teammate Jan Kopecky whom earlier had been leading the competition until some mechanical issues forced Kopecky to pull out of the race.
“This was a very important win for us and Team MRF, we’ve been working hard for the past years and we finally won it!” Gaurav said.
“We had a great fight with our teammate but unfortunately some bad luck for him but with one car on the podium is a great achievement for the team.” He added.
Second place went to Yuya Sumiyama and co-driver Naoki Kase of Cusco Racing while Mark Pedder and co-driver Claire Dowling of Pedders Suspention Rally Team took third. Johor’s slippery stages and tropical climate makes this one of the toughest rallies in the world. The 10 edition of the Malaysian Rally was contested on 14 Super Special stages, spilt into over three days and covered 585km. It’s either dust or mud and serious heat characterized the event and this year was one of the trickiest. Though there were no down pours on Saturday and Sunday but the cloudy weather prevented the mud from drying up. The mix of surface character, heat and humidity, thigh and twisty stages is what makes rallying in Malaysia one of the toughest on the APRC calendar.
How it unfolded
Leg 1 on Saturday consisted of 8 Special stages and 140 km of competitive driving. Team MRF’s drivers Jan Kopecky and Gaurav Gill was immediately on the pace. Both the drivers have different driving style with Jan Kopecky having the experience keeping him out of trouble. He had a trouble-free run and was expecting to take a commanding lead in the event but unfortunately on stage 5 he stopped on the roadside with broken suspension. This left Guarav Gill unchallenged and ended leg one with a comfortable lead of 10 minutes over second place Xan Ju. The Chinese driver in His Skoda Fabia S2000 was handicapped by wrong tyre choices, failed handbrakes and a heat stroke. He was happy he made finish leg 1 intact. Australian Mark Pedder had a trouble free day in his Evo X and Indonesian Subhan Aksan drove his Renault Clio fast and clean all day dicing with Yuya Sumiyama in the Cusco prepared Subaru Impreza. Last year’s outright winner Micheal Young was as ever minding his own business holding his position and aim to finish as high as possible.
The Suzuki Ignis of Japanese driver Kohei Izuno rally ended in artistic fashion. The little Suzuki rolled end over end squashing it into a box. He and co-driver walked away unhurt. Both Sanjey Takle and Dinesh Deheragoda had scuffles with the scenery and slightly damaging their cars.
Leg 2 started early Sunday Morning. The competitor had to do 6 stages with 80 Km of competitive driving. Jan Kopecky restarted leg 2 and was posting fastest stage time. Guarav Gill was driving as hard trying to match the time of the European Champion. With all his issues solved, China’s Xan Ju began to post good times but with a minute penalty incurred for coming out of the service park late, he is set to finish third. Not a bad result considering he came to the event under equip with just one mechanic! Mark Pedder continued his trouble free run and finished second overall. Unable to challenge Gaurav Gill whom was way ahead, he maintained his position from the recovering Xan Ju.
Indian Sanjey Takle drove cautionsly to finish 4th and take some home some valuable points and 5th is Micheal Young. Again he bags maximum point the junior’s category. Japan is the round of the APRC. Car will be rebuilt and once again resume rallying for top honors in the 2014 Asia Pacific Rally Championship. To find out more of what and when of the rally, log in to the website http://www.malaysianrally.com.