A national award will provide a much-needed fillip to Indian motorsports, believes three-time Asia Pacific Rally Champion (APRC) Gaurav Gill, who is hoping to be third time lucky after being nominated for the Arjuna award again.
"I have been nominated again. I just want to say that ministry should not see it in a way that motorsport is not popular, rather they should try to make the sport popular because there are hundreds of cricketers but there are not many players in motorsports," he told PTI.
"If you recognise someone from motorsports at the national level then the whole country will watch. If today, you address me as an Arjuna awardee, naturally the level goes up. We shouldn't wait for hundreds to come and then award one with Arjuna but rather we should think of creating hundreds in motorsports."
The 36-year-old has been finally made it to World Rally Championship in the second division after a long APRC stint.
"It has been an amazing year. We would now be doing a World Championship which is a top level of driving. Very proud that we are using MRF tyres which is made in India. This year is all about development, so next year we will lead a full assault at the world championship," he said.
The World Rally Championship (WRC) is a rallying series consisting of 13 three-day events driven on surfaces ranging from gravel and tarmac to snow and ice.
The WRC features three support championships, the Junior World Rally Championship, the World Rally Championship 2 (WRC2) and the World Rally Championship 3 (WRC3) which are contested on the same events and stages as the WRC, but with different regulations.
"I just came back from Finland two weeks ago. I finished 12th in the World rally Championship 2 in my first attempt (at Italy in June). We could have finished 6th or 7th but there was some technical issues with the car," said Gill, who also participated in Rally Finland in July.
"This year it is all about learning and next year hope to get onto the podium. We are still in the development stage, so lets see," said Gill, who is coming up with an academy at Gurgaon to train the kids.
Gill also said he is trying to tie up with an Indian company to participate in the 2019 Dakar Rally to be held in Peru from January 6 to 17 next year.
"We would be doing a recce this year. I am working on it, will be back with an Indian company at the Dakar Rally. It is a big project," he said.
Talking about the challenges of motosport in the country, he said: "Motosports is an expensive sport but I have not bought a single car so far. So if I can do it, others can also do it. Lot of auto manufacturers are also getting. There is less sponsorship but things are changing slowly.
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