Gaurav Gill had a job to do on Sunday and he did it in fine style.
Piloting his Team MRF Skoda Fabia S2000, after teammate Esapekka Lappi withdrew due to an engine problem on Saturday, Gill emerged on top in all the seven stages to regain the lead in the Drivers standings.
The lack of competition was visible as the Indian, according to Team MRF boss Lane Heenan, focused on finishing rather than blasting through the stages to remain unscathed and still won handsomely.
“Even if Gill drives with one hand behind, he can still win all the stages,” Heenan had said on Saturday after repairing Gill’s car. He was spot on as the ace Indian driver gained the valuable seven points to go atop with 78.5 points.
Gill said he was disappointed to take the pace off the pedal but had no options.
“I was disappointed to drive slowly but at the end of the day I got what I wanted,” he said.
Second-placed Sanjay Takale, who usually tours around slowly and carefully, and ends up on the podium, couldn’t escape the tricky terrains on Sunday as he pulled out after the ninth stage.
New Zealand’s Michael Young, driving a Toyota Vitx RZ, and Japan’s Horishi Asakura (Proton Satria Neo) were the other drivers who completed all the stages on Sunday.
The Kiwi benefitted from the misfortunes of the other drivers and finished on top of the podium.
Young and his Cusco TRD team were also fortunate enough to squeeze in both a dry and wet test during the pre-event testing session here. “We’ve come here with a new approach this weekend. We just need to reduce our pace slightly and get to the finish,” Young said before the start of the rally.
The fifth-leg of the APRC will be held in Japan from September 28.
Final classification: Michael Young (co-driver Michael Read), 3:52:28.8.