MRF driver Gaurav Gill of India took a commanding lead today at the Asia Pacific Rally Championship (APRC) in Hokkaido after a drama-filled day, which saw four of his main rivals retire from the race. Gill's MRF team-mate Ole Christian Veiby of Norway, who had been leading the championship points, retired on stage 3 after going off the road, said a press release here. In the same stage, Finland's Jari Ketomaa retired after taking a jump too fast and ripping off his sump guard, while 5th placed Mike Young retired with engine problems. India's Sanjay Takale was forced to stop after suffering two punctures in his Mitsubishi Mirage. "It has been a great day for us and MRF, we made the perfect tyre choice, conditions were really rough, huge rocks and stones, really fast stages averaging over 125 kilometres an hour, good tyre choice and car setup really paid off. "It will be good to start tomorrow in the lead, we need to finish the rally to be on top," Gill was quoted as saying. In 2nd place is Japan's Yuya Sumiyama, driving the Cusco Skoda R5, and is followed by Swedish driver Robert Blomberg in an AP4 Mitsubishi Mirage. Veiby is expected to restart tomorrow.
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