India's Gaurav Gill made up a deficit of over two minutes to finish second as Team MRF delivered another 1-2 result with Norwegian Ole Christian Veiby comfortably winning the International Rally of Johor, the third round of FIA Asia Pacific Rally Championship here.
Gill, the 35-year old Delhi-based defending champion, came up with one of his finest drives ever in the Race Torque-prepared Skoda Fabia R5, winning all the six Special Stages on Sunday that left the connoisseurs awe-struck as he roared past overnight second-placed Finnish ace Jari Ketomaa.
Veiby meanwhile held on to a huge Leg-1 lead to win by over four minutes, also in a Skoda Fabia R5.
The 21-year old Veiby, Skoda's factory-backed driver who recently topped the WRC-2 category in Poland, thus scored back-to-back win following his win in the second round in Australia after Gill had taken the season-opener in New Zealand a month earlier.
The win also put helped Veiby to consolidate his championship lead over Gill.
The day that was spared of rains which had marred Saturday's proceedings, belonged to Gill who had lost a lot of time on Saturday after a run-in with a tree stump and alternator problem.
He made up the two-minute, 16-second deficit to Ketomaa over a distance of just 76 Kms and went on to beat the World Rally Championship driver by 18.8 seconds, but finished 04:41.7 adrift of Veiby.
Gill's pace was phenomenal as he made 26 seconds on Ketomaa in the day's first Stage (11.98Kms), 31 in each of the next two (12.21Kms and 13.93Kms) on the first loop. After service, Gill made a further 69 seconds in the second loop of the same Stages to emerge second.
"For sure, it was one of my best drives, very fast and precise. I didn't make any mistakes. I was driving at 110 per cent which was what I always wanted do and what all the top drivers do.
"We had amazing speed, good pace notes and made correct tyre choice. I drove my heart out and pushed the car beyond its limit. But the small mistake I made yesterday cost me the Rally or else, we could have won," said Gill.
FIA APRC: 1. Ole Christian Veiby / Stig Rune Skjarmoen (Team MRF, Skoda Fabia R5) (3hrs, 02mins, 39.1secs); 2. Gaurav Gill / Stephane Prevot (Team MRF, Skoda Fabia R5) (03:07:20.8); 3. Jari Ketomaa / Ville Mannisenmali (Mpart Sport, Mitsubishi Mirage) (03:07:39.5).
FIA Asia Cup: 1. Gaurav Gill / Stephane Prevot (Team MRF, Skoda Fabia R5) (03:07:20.8); 2. Michael Young / Malcolm Read (Cusco Racing, Subaru Impreza) (03:18:42.9); 3. Yuva Sumiyama / Takahiro Yasui (Cusco Racing, Skoda Fabia R5) (04:10:42.8).
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