Gill regains APRC lead from MRF team-mate Veiby
MRF Skoda Fabia team driver Gaurav Gill walked away with victory at Rally Hokkaido.
Bad landings after a jump on stage three eliminated his teammate, Ole Christian Veiby, and their chief rival, the Mpart Sport Mitsubishi Mirage team driver Jari Ketomaa.
With one event to go, Gill is now six points clear in the series.
While Ketomaa‘s car was too damaged to carry on, Veiby was able to restart for the second day, scoring two scratch times, but apart from the opening super special, Gill scored best time on all the other stages.
Based at Obihiro, the former base for the Japanese WRC event, the special interest was that the Cusco team entrusted their special 33mm Mitsubishi engined Toyota Vitz car to New Zealander Michael Young, but it retired on the first day with obscure ECU troubles.
Yuya Sumiyama withdrew on day 2 with an engine oil leak when lying second, while Sanjay Takale in a third Mpart car finished in the points, but missed stages on Day 1 because of punctures.
Conditions were wet but a threatened giant typhoon held off. The long penultimate stage, however, was cancelled, when on the previous run a Japanese championship car burned out and its remains were embedded into the roadway.
In the concurrently run national Japanese championship rally, Toshi Arai beat Norihiko Katsuka (the fathers of the two Japanese drivers pursuing their Toyota sponsored career in Europe) by nearly two minutes, while their chief rival Fumio Nutahara went off the road on the second stage and retired.