Defending Asia Pacific Rally Champion (APRC) Gaurav Gill overcame a problem with his rear suspension to win the Malaysian Rally in convincing fashion as the Indian driver finished 13 minutes ahead of Australia’s Mark Pedder,
It was a strong performance by Gill after crashing out in Australia as he put himself within 10 points of overall championship leader and MRF teammate Jan Kopecky.
With Czech teammate Kopecky out of the classification with a suspension break on day one, the onus was on Gill to finish and make sure at least one Team MRF car was on top.
Gill got off to a wonderful start, winning the day’s first stage, Tai Tak Court House, by more than ten seconds. But trouble with his suspension in the next stage meant that he had to ease off.
"The rear suspension stopped working because of the heat. We took it easy and the priority was to make sure one of the cars finished on top. In the second stage (of the day) we started having the problem. By the third it completely collapsed. Malaysia is all about finishing the rally. It’s the most difficult rally of the season. One of the toughest in the world I would say and the team has done a great job so big thank you to Team MRF for the win today," Gill said.
Yesterday Kopecky (co-driver Pavel Dresler) suffered a broken rear suspension as he seemed set to win his third consecutive rally when his Skoda S2000 landed too hard on a jump in Special Stage six (Tai Tak Fish Pond).
Until then, Kopecky had won three of the five stages and built up a lead of 1:14.8s.
The racing crew will now move to the penultimate rally in Japan (September 26-28).