Team MRF Eyes Win In FIA Asia Pacific Rally Championship (Round 3)


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Akash1886

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Team MRF Eyes Win In FIA Asia Pacific Rally Championship (Round 3) Malaysia

Gaurav Gill (action).JPG

Ole Christian Veiby (action).JPG

Gaurav Gill (portrait).JPG

Johor Bahru, August 10: The two-car Team MRF, spearheaded by India’s Gaurav Gill, are seeking another 1-2 finish as the third round of the FIA Asia Pacific Rally Championship gets underway here on Friday with the International Rally of Johor.

Delhi-based Gill, 35, is defending not only his Malaysian crown, but also the APRC title that he won for the second time last year. Parked between him and success is his MRF-Skoda team-mate, 21-year old from Norway Ole Christian Veiby or just “OC” as he prefers to be called.

Both are piloting the super-quick Race Torque-prepared Skoda Fabia R5 that has dominated the championship in which Veiby (70 points) with Stig Rune Skaermoen in the co-driver’s seat, leads Gill (68) partnered by Belgian veteran Stephane Prevot.

Gill, who enjoyed a great start to the current season with a victory in New Zealand in April, and followed it up by winning the first round of the Indian National Championship in Coimbatore a fortnight ago, is the clear favourite given his vast experience.

Veiby, after finishing second in New Zealand, bounced back to top the next round in Australia and recently, scored his maiden success in the World Rally Championship-2 category in Poland. Being the Skoda factory driver, the Norwegian youngster has enjoyed far more seat time than Gill who is getting the first feel of the R5 since the Australia round in May.

The heat and high humidity besides sudden thunderstorms which in the past have rendered the Special Stages into slush fields are to be factored in and which make the event the toughest in the championship which this year has been cut to five rounds following cancellation of China Rally. Both Gill and Veiby sampled the terrain during Wednesday’s test session in slippery conditions following overnight rains.

Reflecting on the ensuing event, Gill said: “This is the most difficult Rally of the year, be it for man, machine or tyres. The almost 100 per cent levels of humidity and 35 degrees heat takes a huge toll on the body as temperatures inside the car cabin exceeds 55-60 degrees, and let's not forget the four layers of race fire-proof overalls I have to wear!

“The more time I spend away from the car means more practice I have to put in because the R5 is not a regular Rally car and demands respect and constant driving behind the wheel to keep in tune with it.

“Yes, I had a great weekend in Coimbatore recently, but this is a completely different ball game. Lots of rain is expected over the weekend and the weather is highly unpredictable, but I've got only one goal - to win. It's extremely important to bounce back to the top of the series.”


Veiby, who arrived here on Sunday to acclimatize to the local conditions, said: “This is going to be a special rally. It’s rainy season down here and it’s said that when it’s raining, this is one of the most difficult events in the world. The surface is more or less mud and the rain makes the roads crazily slippery. I have never driven in such conditions.

Another challenge is the heat and the high humidity. We have a plan for how to be as prepared as possible for what awaits us and will use the days before the rally to drink, eat and train properly.”

The International Rally of Johor will be run over 735.66 Kms of which 236.56 Kms comprise 14 closed Special Stages the first of which is scheduled for Friday night, a 2.64Kms sprint after the ceremonial flag-off. Thursday is set aside for the mandatory reconnaissance of Special Stages which are located in the nearby palm oil plantations.
 
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Akash1886

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Buddies,

Update

Ole Christian Veiby in action (Aug 11).JPG

Gaurav Gill in action (Aug 11).JPG

Gaurav Gill (right) and Ole Christian Veiby during FIA press conference (Aug 11).JPG

Gaurav Gill sets early pace in International Rally of Johor​

Johor Bahru (Malaysia), August 11: India’s Gaurav Gill and Norwegian youngster Ole Christian Veiby set the benchmark while showcasing their pace in the International Rally of Johor, the third round of the FIA Asia Pacific Rally Championship as the Team MRF duo topped the time sheets during this morning’s shakedown here ahead of the ceremonial flag-off and the Super Special Stage late tonight.

Delhi-based Gill, 35, was the quickest of the lot as he put in six laps around the 1.6 Kms dirt track clocking a best of one minute, 39 seconds as against 21-year old Veiby’s 01:39.6. The pair was well ahead of the pack that included WRC regular Jari Ketomaa from Finland and Swedish ace Robert Blomberg.

Since this is my first drive in the Skoda Fabia R5 in nearly three months, I was keen to put in as much seat time as possible and am happy with how everything went today,” said Gill during the pre-event FIA press conference today. “However, the Malaysian Rally is the toughest of the championship with changing conditions and high humidity, but I am well prepared for it.”

Veiby, who is driving a brand new R5 which came here straight from the factory, said his goal was to maintain his lead in the championship, referring to his two-point advantage over Gill who had won the first round in New Zealand while the Norwegian took the next in Australia.

My target here is to stay ahead in the championship. I know Gaurav is very quick and has the experience driving in these conditions, while this is my first time in Malaysia. I hope to do well,” said Veiby who recently won in the WRC-2 category in Poland.

After tonight’s Super Special Stage which will be run at the same premises as the shakedown, but with a few modifications in the track configurations, the cars head to the nearby palm oil plantations for the Special Stages spread over the next two days.

Shakedown results: 1. Gaurav Gill / Stephane Prevot (Team MRF, Skoda Fabia R5) (01min, 39secs); 2. Ole Christian Veiby / Stig Rune Skjarmoen (Team MRF, Skoda Fabia R5) (01:39.6); 3. Yuma Sumiyama / Takahiro Yasui (Cusco Racing, Skoda Fabia R5) (01:41.2).
Regards

Akash
 
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Update

Gaurav Gill (Aug 12).JPG

Ole Christian Veiby (Aug 12).JPG

Johor Bahru (Malaysia), August 12: Ole Christian Veiby of Team MRF survived treacherous conditions and rode his luck to take a seemingly winning lead in the International Rally of Johor, the third round of the FIA Asia Pacific Rally Championship, here on Saturday while defending champion and team-mate Gaurav Gill was a distant third following a string of mishaps.

Veiby, the 21-year old from Norway, driving the Race Torque-prepared Skoda Fabia R5, finished the day marked by incessant rains which rendered the terrain into a virtual skating rink and led to cancellation of a Stage, four minutes, 32.5 seconds ahead of Finland pair of Jari Ketomaa and co-driver in a Mitsubishi Mirage.

For Delhi-based Gill, 35, it was a wretched outing as he first clipped a tree stump due to “purely a driving error” as he put it in the day’s first Special Stage leading to a bent steering arm and later in the day, suffered alternator problem which fogged the windscreen.

These mishaps cost him precious time, yet, he came up with a superb drive to make about five places, overtaking two cars on different Stages in the process to finish the day third, some 12 minutes behind Ketomaa,

Veiby, who leads Gill by two points in the championship standings, has all but clinched the title here with just two loops of three short Special Stages to be run on Sunday.

“It’s been a good day overall. But for sure, it was not easy as it is my first time down here. I have never driven in such conditions. It was so slippery. I was a bit lucky in some places. On the first stage, I went straight into a tree and after that I used the grass to see how the grip level is. Now I know how fast I could do. In these conditions, it is so easy to do mistakes.

We have a good gap, but can’t just roll down the Stages tomorrow. My aim is to try to make it to the finish, but I have to keep the pressure up. I am so lucky to be here at the finish today,” said Veiby.

Looking back on his day, Gill said: “Obviously it was not my best day. About 18 Kms into the first Stage, I hit a tree stump which I didn’t see. It was purely a driving error. It bent the steering arm. On finishing the stage, I had to go under the car and repair the steering control arm. It cost us a lot of time. Thereafter, we made time on others in spite of the bent steering.

“Overall, we were down to seventh or eighth, but had some good times. In the day’s third Stage, we had alternator problem and almost immediately, caught up with Sumiyama who held me up for about 30 seconds before I nudged him to pass. But with the windscreen fogging, I had almost nil visibility and had to slow down which again cost us time. So, one drama after another!

“Thereafter, we again made time on others, and I passed Young on one of the Stages and we are now placed third, but with one Stage cancelled today and only short Stages to be run tomorrow, I have to settle for what I have. The gap is too much to make up.”


Classification after Leg-1 (Provisional):

FIA APRC: 1. Ole Christian Veiby / Stig Rune Skjarmoen (Team MRF, Skoda Fabia R5) (1hr, 58mins, 27.9secs); 2. Jari Ketomaa / Ville Mannisenmali (Mpart Sport, Mitsubishi Mirage) (02:03:00.4); 3. Gaurav Gill / Stephane Prevot (Team MRF, Skoda Fabia R5) (02:15:17.6).

Asia Cup: 1. Gaurav Gill / Stephane Prevot (Team MRF, Skoda Fabia R5) (02:15:17.6); 2. Michael Young / Malcolm Read (Cusco Racing, Subaru Impreza) (02:18:19.5); 3. Yuva Sumiyama / Takahiro Yasui (Cusco Racing, Skoda Fabia R5) (03:13:44.6).
Regards

Akash
 
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Ole Christian Veiby, Gaurav Gill lead Team MRF to 1-2 finish

Gaurav Gill in action (Aug 13).jpg

Ole Christian Veiby in action (Aug 13).JPG

Gaurav Gill (left) congratulates Ole Christian Veiby (Aug 13).JPG

Ole Christian Veiby (right) and co-driver Stig Rune Skjarmoen celebrate victory in the Internati.JPG

Johor Bahru (Malaysia), August 13: Thanks to a stunning drive by India’s Gaurav Gill who made up a deficit of over two minutes to finish second, Team MRF delivered another 1-2 result with Norwegian Ole Christian Veiby comfortably winning the International Rally of Johor, the third round of FIA Asia Pacific Rally Championship, here on Sunday.

Gill, the 35-year old Delhi-based defending champion, came up with one of his finest drives ever in the Race Torque-prepared Skoda Fabia R5, winning all the six Special Stages on Sunday that left the connoisseurs awe-struck as he roared past overnight second-placed Finnish ace Jari Ketomaa while Veiby held on to a huge Leg-1 lead to win by over four minutes, also in a Skoda Fabia R5.

The 21-year old Veiby, Skoda’s factory-backed driver who recently topped the WRC-2 category in Poland, thus scored back-to-back win following his win in the second round in Australia after Gill had taken the season-opener in New Zealand a month earlier. The win also put helped Veiby to consolidate his championship lead over Gill.

The day that was spared of rains which had marred Saturday’s proceedings, belonged to Gill who had lost a lot of time on Saturday after a run-in with a tree stump and alternator problem as he made up the two-minute, 16-second deficit to Ketomaa over a distance of just 76 Kms and went on to beat the World Rally Championship driver by 18.8 seconds, but finished 04:41.7 adrift of Veiby.

Gill’s pace was phenomenal as he made 26 seconds on Ketomaa in the day’s first Stage (11.98Kms), 31 in each of the next two (12.21Kms and 13.93Kms) on the first loop. After service, Gill made a further 69 seconds in the second loop of the same Stages to emerge second.

“For sure, it was one of my best drives, very fast and precise. I didn’t make any mistakes. I was driving at 110 per cent which was what I always wanted do and what all the top drivers do. We had amazing speed, good pace notes and made correct tyre choice. I drove my heart out and pushed the car beyond its limit. But the small mistake I made yesterday cost me the Rally or else, we could have won.

Starting the day, we were down by two minutes and 16 seconds to Jari. I wanted to get as close to OC (Veiby) as possible. I made most use of my experience to go past Jari who is not a slow driver and has WRC experience. Yes, it was a satisfying drive today, but not overall. I am still upset with the silly mistake I made yesterday,” said Gill who drew some consolation by topping the FIA Asia Cup category.

Veiby was pleased as punch with the win and said: “Today was all about getting through without any trouble. We didn’t want to make any stupid mistakes when we were leading by over five minutes. We had some problems with oil leak, but we had it fixed during service and got through the day. I didn’t go flat out today and tried to enjoy a bit.

“After what happened to Gill on the first Stage yesterday, we were leading the whole Rally and it was kind of boring here. In Australia, it was more fun as Gill and I kept pushing each other, changing positions up and down. But a win is a win and my target is to win the championship.

“It is good to be back in winning mode after my flip in Finland (during WRC-2 round). I just had to forget what happened and trust in yourself and the car. I prepared my mind as I knew Malaysia was a tough round. I read all about the rally, watched some videos to see what happened last year.”


Provisional classification:

FIA APRC: 1. Ole Christian Veiby / Stig Rune Skjarmoen (Team MRF, Skoda Fabia R5) (3hrs, 02mins, 39.1secs); 2. Gaurav Gill / Stephane Prevot (Team MRF, Skoda Fabia R5) (03:07:20.8); 3. Jari Ketomaa / Ville Mannisenmali (Mpart Sport, Mitsubishi Mirage) (03:07:39.5).

FIA Asia Cup: 1. Gaurav Gill / Stephane Prevot (Team MRF, Skoda Fabia R5) (03:07:20.8); 2. Michael Young / Malcolm Read (Cusco Racing, Subaru Impreza) (03:18:42.9); 3. Yuva Sumiyama / Takahiro Yasui (Cusco Racing, Skoda Fabia R5) (04:10:42.8).
Regards

Akash
 
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