Indian rally driver, recently awarded with the Arjuna, settled for a DNF (did not finish) during his first outing this season in the WRC2 category at the Rally of Turkey. Gill showed good pace early on but gremlins with the car forced him to retire with mechanical issues on the penultimate stage of the rally.
After a successful outing last season, Gill announced his plans to compete in the WRC2 category as an official competitor fighting for championship points. Gill’s first rally of the year was the Rally of Turkey where he piloted the JK Racing Ford Fiesta R5 Mk2 prepared by M-Sport with co-driver Glenn MacNeall. The duo spent little time with the car with limited testing before commencing their first outing this season at Rally of Turkey.
The Rally of Turkey scheduled from 12-15th of September saw Gill drive well during the initial stages. However, due to the harsh terrain, Gill suffered punctures early on and was forced to retire on Friday with a front suspension problem, particularly a broken lower-arm.
Gill came back on Saturday to finish the following stages and drove well to move up the standings to sixth in class. Gill set quick times during his runs being third fastest in SS10 and SS11 After completing his run on Saturday, Gill found himself 18th overall in the standings.
On the final day of the rally (Sunday), Gill set the second-fastest time in class for the first stage of the day in SS14 and followed it with the third-fastest time in SS15. But bad luck struck Gill yet again in SS16 as the Fiesta R5 Mk2 began suffering from transmission issues forcing gill to retire from the rally without being able to complete the final two stages.
On SS16, Gill suffered a transmission seizure which ground him to a halt. According to the official release, the vehicle locked up and the car wouldn’t even engage neutral.
While the over standing sheets may tell a different story. If you examine Gill’s driving, gill managed to clock top-three finishes in five of the nine stages where he had a trouble-free run.
"It was one of the toughest weekends, rather the toughest rallies of my life. Right from the beginning, it was difficult to get into a good rhythm because the rally was so slow and twisty, with so many huge rocks and boulders around. I, of course, didn't have much previous experience with the car and the setup, making it that much more difficult. The plan was to take one step at a time and it almost paid off. But we were marred by so many issues, including mechanical problems in the car. The good thing is we got some great timings and should keep us in a positive frame for the next round" said Gill.
The season calendar still has four rounds remaining and Gill is said to compete in all of them in the WRC2 category. Gill will return to Indian for the Rally of Jodhpur for the next round of the 2019 Indian National Rally Championship (INRC) scheduled to be held from September 20-22. Following which he will head for the nest WRC2 round for the Welsh Rally of GB which will be held from October 3-6.