Indian driver Gaurav Gill won the International Rally of Queensland with a consistent driving display while rivals fell around him in the forests of the Sunshine Coast hinterland.
Gill and New Zealand co-driver Glen MacNeall of the Indian-based MRF Mitsubishi team won only one of the event’s 18 special stages, on Friday night, but were rarely out of the top three during a test of 268 kilometres for round four of the 2010 FIA Asia Pacific Rally Championship.
Victorian brothers Glen and Matt Raymond, running a Mitsubishi Lancer on a wildcard entry intended to encourage up-and-coming competitors, scored second place and one of the best results of their career, ahead of the other MRF crew of Katsuhiko Taguchi (Japan) and Chris Murphy (Australia). The Raymonds also won round two of the Pacific Cup, which will conclude with round three in New Caledonia at the end of this month.
Taguchi retained the lead in the Asia Pacific Championship, with rounds still to run in Indonesia and New Caledonia, but Gill closed the gap today to only two points.
Gill joked at the podium presentation that he had dented his car. “It’s been a great weekend although not very clean. We’ve got some dents in the panels and I don’t even know how I got them; there’s some invisible trees I think out there. Glen’s been a great partner. He’s been co-driving with me for more than a year now, we make up a good team and he’s been helping me go fast. “The team’s done a brilliant job this weekend. We got everything set up for the wet but we didn’t have a lot of sun this weekend then finally it stayed up to it’s name the Sunshine Coast.” After heavy rain on the stages during the week, conditions dried for the weekend and were mostly hard and fast.
Championship standings after round 4:
1 Katsuhiko Taguchi 100
2 Gaurav Gill 97
3 Alister McCrae 41