New Delhi, June 24 : Returning to World Rally Championship after a two-year hiatus, India’s Gaurav Gill started the Safari Rally Kenya with style by clocking the fastest timings of 3:32.9 in WRC2 grid.
Representing India in the grid, Gill is returning to WRC 2 driving a Skoda Fabid Rally2 car for the first time with Brazilian co-driver Gabriel.
Considered as one of the most dreaded events of the season, Gill showcased his driving prowess and control on the machine in SS1- Super Special Kasarani by clocking the fastest timings of 3:32.9 in WRC2 grid, just 14.1 seconds off the leader Sebastien Ogier driving a works Toyota in WRC1.
Speaking on his performance, Gill said, “We had a good start in the Shakedown for our team which helped us today to mark another fastest completion. We are working on improving our on-ground strategies to claim good results in the remaining stages. It’s a long and challenging rally. We’ll put our best of efforts to better our performance and hope to finish at the podium.”
While the WRC grid will see some serious face-off between nine-time world champion Sebastien Loeb of M-Sport Ford Puma Rally1 and eight-time world champion Sebastien Ogier of Toyota Gazoo Racing who won last year’s Safari Rally Kenya, Indian driver Gill has competition from highest-placed championship contenders Polish driver Kajetan Kajetanowicz driving Skoda Fabia Rally 2 and Martin Prokop from Czech who is fielding his trusty Ford Fiesta Rally2.
The rally covering a distance of 1223.77kms with 363.44 kms of 19 grueling special stages started from Central Nairobi.
On Friday, the rally will span across the north & south side of Lake Naivasha today and the stages include Loldia (19.17km) and Geothermal (11.68km) – a brand-new stage which climbs over craggy rock-lined hills – as well as Kedong (31.25km), which is the longest stage of the rally.