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Team MRF driver, Gaurav Gill, is confident of scoring back-to-back victories as the Asia-Pacific Rally Championship continues at the International Rally of Queensland this weekend.

The Indian drove his Skoda Fabia R5 to victory in round one of the championship in New Zealand in May, finishing 30 seconds ahead of his young German team-mate, Fabian Kreim.

This weekend, Queensland’s world famous fine and sunny weather is set to be a distant memory, however, with up to 50mm of rain predicted to fall on the rally stages on Saturday and Sunday.

Nevertheless, Team MRF’s drivers are ready for the challenge that faces them.

“Our goal, as it was at the season-opener, is obviously to win,” Gill said.

“I know the stages well, but Fabian learns very quickly. It is sure to be an exciting battle with my new team-mate.

“Hopefully we can all celebrate together again come the end of the rally.”

After finishing second in New Zealand, Kreim returned home and claimed a dominant victory in a round of the German Rally Championship, so comes back to the APRC in good form.

“I learned an awful lot at my first major gravel rally, and I am now looking to build on that in Australia,” Kreim said.

“I want to make it onto the podium again, and give my team-mate a good fight.”

After a wet and slippery test session on Wednesday, team boss Lane Heenan said that both drivers were in a confident mood.

“This weekend is going to be a real test for drivers, cars and the entire Team MRF crew,” Heenan said.

“The weather is not looking great, but the Skoda Fabia R5 and the MRF rally tyres will be up to the task of coming out on top.

“After his victory in New Zealand, Gill will be hoping to increase his championship lead here in Queensland, but Fabian has already shown that he has the talent to learn new stages quickly, and he’s sure to be on the pace as well.

“The Queensland roads are always tricky, and the wet weather will make them even more of a challenge, so it’s going to be a tough event.

“Getting both cars to the finish is our goal, as always, and we’re hoping to leave Queensland with the lead in both the Drivers’ and Manufacturers’ championships.”

Heading into the event, Gill and co-driver, Glenn Macneall, lead the APRC by seven points from Kreim and Frank Christian, with New Zealander Mike Young in third place, a further six points behind.

The International Rally of Queensland will be held over 15 special stages on the spectacular Sunshine Coast. Competitors will face 240 kilometres of stages, with the service park based at the Imbil Showgrounds.

Other leading contenders in round two of the Asia-Pacific Rally Championship include Japan’s Sanjay Takale in a Subaru Impreza WRX STI, and Australian hot-shot, Nathan Quinn, at the wheel of a Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution 9.

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