Team MRF’s APRC battle resumes in Japan
- 20th September 2016, 2:44am
Team MRF driver Gaurav Gill could increase his FIA Asia-Pacific Rally Championship (APRC) lead this weekend when the series resumes in Japan.
The Indian star currently leads his German team-mate, Fabian Kreim, but 33 points after three rounds as Team MRF strive for yet another 1-2 finish in their Skoda Fabia R5s.
For the Rally Hokkaido, Gill will have a new co-driver, with former Asia-Pacific Champion, Stephane Prevot, replacing the unavailable Glenn Macneall.
Gill retired from the event last year, but with three wins from three starts in 2016, he’s in top form and will start the rally as the clear favourite.
“The season has been perfect for us so far,” Gill says.
“We have been able to build up a bit of a lead over Fabian. We want to extend this lead, but we know how strong Fabian is, so it won’t be easy.”
Like all rounds of the APRC this year, Kreim and co-driver Frank Christian will be making their debut at Rally Hokkaido.
Currently leading the Germany Rally Championship, the pair has shown that they can quickly adapt to new stages, and will be right in the fight with their team-mates.
“The APRC is uncharted territory for me, but I am satisfied with my performances and results so far,” Kreim said.
“Of course it would be great to win, but Gaurav Gill is hard to beat. And, unlike me, he knows the rally.”
Team MRF boss, Lane Heenan, said that apart from a new engine in Fabian Kreim’s car, the Skoda Fabia R5s would run in similar specification as the previous event.
“The cars have proven to be fast and reliable this year, and we see no reason why that will be any different this weekend,” Heenan said.
“The route for the rally is quite similar to last year, which will give Gaurav an advantage. However, we’ve seen that Fabian can adapt quickly to new stages, so he’s sure to be fast.
“So far this season the Team MRF Skodas have been the class of the APRC field, and we hope to continue that at Rally Hokkaido.
Rally Hokkaido gets underway on Friday night with one short super special stage to get proceedings underway.
Two full days of competition across 177.12 kilometres and 16 special stages follows on Saturday and Sunday.
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