Gill was announced as the Asia Pacific winner of the program way back in October, but the final format and schedule for his prize has only just recently been finalised, hence the delay in the program starting. 

Since moving to Finland in March, Gill and co-driver Dan Brkic have settled into their home in Vaaksy, and are both keen to begin their busy schedule.

“It’s been nice to have some time to settle in, get familiar with the different lifestyle in Europe and build some early connections,” Gill said.

“I’ve been on a steep learning curve – moving out of home for the first time and having to learn about life in a non-English speaking country. It’s been a whole new thing, but I’ve loved it thus far.”

However, despite their lack of events, the Australian duo haven’t been bored, with their first two months in Finland packed with plenty of preparations to aid them in their quest for the 2024 Junior World Rally Championship.

“We’ve bought ourselves a car and have already taken it on a 5,000 kilometre road trip to the World Rally Championship event in Croatia,” Gill added.

The beginning of the Rally Star program will be Gill's first organised event since Coffs Harbour in November.

“At the event, we did some spectating but also drove each of the rally’s stages. This enabled us to practice writing pace notes on tarmac for the first time and see the lines and cuts of the best drivers in the world.”

Along with this, Gill has had the chance to drive a range of rally cars, including a Rally3 car, the same as what he will drive in his rallies this year. 

Driving on snow for the first time was a thrill for the pairing, with plenty learned in anticipation of the season, driving various cars.

The upcoming test program in Sardinia features one day of gravel testing and a day of tarmac testing, as well as fitness, media, dieting, and mental training, giving participants experience on both surfaces in their initial program appearance.

Setting a good impression is high on the priority list, and it is something both Gill and Brkic are aware of.

“Our research has been lengthy and we’re making sure we are as prepared as we can be,” co-driver Brkic said.

“We’ve been lucky enough to drive a Rally3 car in the lead up to the program, which I’m not sure many other participants have. That should give us an edge on the competition and the ability to prove ourselves early in the program.”

Gill will be able to witness the challenges of Sardinia on recce.

The pair will then stay on the island to spectate the Rally Italia Sardegna, the upcoming round of the WRC, gaining more valuable knowledge on the environment at hand and connecting with various people in the championship.

“Getting familiar with the WRC set up and seeing how it all works is going to be useful in our future, so we’re trying to spend as much time around it as possible.” Gill added.

“The more we do, the more we connect with people, the more value it will get us from being a part of this program.”

Following the 11-day training camp Gill and Brkic will stay in Italy and attend the Caneva Tarmac Rally School to further improve their tarmac skills. 

The Caneva Rally School is one of the most prestigious in the world with many of the world’s top line drivers as graduates of the school, including Elfyn Evans and Esapekka Lappi. The school has also bred multiple European and World Rally Champions.

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