Gill’s Production Cup lead is steady, but any mishaps could open the door for a number of other competitors, so his focus is primarily on a clean run and securing as many points as possible.

“With the cancellation of Rally Queensland a month ago, our preparations have been less rushed than normal,” Gill said.

“The non-event meant we were able to do some maintenance to the car which we wouldn’t have had a chance to do otherwise.”

Gill’s main challenger, West Australian McRae, is seeded ahead of him on the road, and the battle is one to watch over the course of the weekend.

Both at the event for the first time, and competing against each other in similar cars for the first time, Gill is prepared for the contest.

“With all the driving he’s done this year all over the world, Max is probably the one we want to beat most this year.

“We’re great mates but have never actually completed against each other on a level playing field, so I’m hoping we can push hard and prove where we stand.”

Not only will Gill be chasing McRae ahead of him on the road, but he will also have to keep a close eye on the cars behind him, with Jamie Luff’s Subaru also being a threat to Gill’s chances.

“Jamie has done a few rallies in Victoria over the past two years, and with the roads being similar across the state, he will have an advantage there, however, I’m confident we can hold him off.

“We’ll also need to watch out for the trailing Evos of Ronnie Bustard and Cahal Carey.”

Carey is the most travelled of the Production Cup drivers this year, competing in every event to date, while Bustard is Gill’s closest rival in the series standings.

“We sit in a good spot in the championship, but in theory, there’s still a number of drivers in the running to win it, so we need to maximise every opportunity we have to extend our lead,” he said.

Heyfield’s Gippsland Rally gets underway on Saturday.

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Matthew Whitten

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