The rally began Friday evening and featured a stage at dusk, followed by two in darkness, which is where Gill’s hopes of a clean weekend would be lost.
He suffered electrical issues no more than 500m into the opening stage and was forced to limp through. This meant a time loss of over a minute on the opening 8.5 kilometre stage, a gap that Gill would be fighting to reduce for the remainder of the event.
At the end of the first night, Gill and co-driver Brkic sat in 47th position outright, sixth in class and third FIA Rally Star crew.
“Friday evening was frustrating … to have dramas less than a kilometre into SS1 really dampened our spirits and made the job tough,” Gill explained.
“The second and third stages in darkness were also interesting, with commitment on the fast Baltic roads crucial to a quick time.”
Gill was the leading FIA Rally Star finisher.
Gill’s troubles on Friday would ultimately make his job a whole lot more difficult for Saturday, having to start car 51 on the road.
This was almost 30 cars behind where he began day one, and he would have to overcome the ever-deteriorating and rutted road.
“Day two was always going to be challenging for us,” he explained.
“The Estonian roads get rutted really easily, so for us at car 51, they were really bad.
“At times the bottom of the car was dragging on the ground for 100m at a time – something I’ve never experienced before.
“We knew we had to be consistent and get to the end, which we were able to do.”
It paid off for the Australians, who on SS8 would jump up to fifth in class when Romet Jurgenson, the FIA Rally Star leader, punctured a tyre and lost over three and a half minutes.
From there, it was a battle between Gill and Josè Abito Caparo for FIA Rally Star honours.
On SS11, the penultimate stage, a mistake from Caparo caused time loss and promoted Gill above the Peruvian and to fourth in class, the placing he would end the rally in.
“It was sad to see Romet and Abito lose time with punctures,” Gill added.
“Romet was quickest all weekend and was on track for a really good result overall.”
For Gill, it was another difficult weekend, but but not one without progression, and both he and Brkic took valuable lessons from the fast Estonian event.
Car troubles made the night stages tricky for Gill.
They finished as the first FIA Rally Star crew, fourth in the EMV3 class and 20th overall.
“We come away with some positives even though our event didn’t go exactly to plan,” Gill said.
With just nine days until the beginning of their next event in Spain, the team is excited for some more familiarity.
“It’s incredible to be able to be in the car every two weeks for a full rally – it’s really good for confidence.
“The gravel roads in Spain should be a lot more like what I’m used to at home, so hopefully we can have a drama-free rally and sink our teeth into the penultimate round.”
The Spanish rally is the Rally RACC based in Catalunya and runs from October 19-21.