2016 Asia Pacific Rally Championship winner Gaurav Gill is hoping to continue his winning streak and win the Coffee Day India Rally in Chikkamagaluru. The sixth and final round of the Championship will be held from December 3-5, 2016 around the verdant estates of Coffee Day Global. The fourth round of the MRF FMSCI Indian National Rally Championship will also run along with the APRC Round. This means a record 50 participants (10 APRC + 40 INRC) will blaze down the dusty trails over the next three days. The APRC cars will cover a total distance of 519.02km, of which 225.26km consists of the 17 Special Stages. In the INRC, the cars will travel 315.05km out of which 102.14 will comprise of the Special Stages.
The ceremonial flag-off will be held tonight followed by the shakedown and Super Special Stage on Saturday. This will be held at the Amber Valley School grounds. The Special Stages will be held in the coffee estates.
Speaking to the press, team MRF Skoda driver Gaurav Gill (co-driven by Glenn Macneall) said that he is hoping to put on a strong performance in front of the home crowd as well as his family members that include his two sons. The Indian driver is expected to dominate the Rally in his MRF Skoda Fabia R5. He has won all APRC rounds this season and a sixth consecutive win will be unprecedented.
Gill, however, will keep a close eye on his team mate Fabian Kreim (co-driven by Christian Frank) who'll be chasing that elusive win this season. The German driver is also in contention to grab the second spot in the Championship, unless Cusco Racing's Michael Young (co-driven by Malcolm Read) manages to snatch it away from him. Young, in the Subaru WRX STi trails Kreim by 31 points.
While the 2016 APRC championship is decided, the war rages on in the INRC. Team Mahindra Adventure's Amittrajit Ghosh (co-driven by Ashwin Naik) leads the Championship by a single point. Piloting the Super XUV500, Ghosh is under immense pressure from second placed Arjun Rao Aroor, who drives the Volkswagen Polo R2. The duo are well aware that they need to push as well as conserve their cars, as every point matters.
In the INRC 2000 class, Karna Kadur (co-driven by Nikhil Pai) holds a slim, three point lead over Dr. Bikku Babu (co-driven by Milen George). The battle is surely going to go down to the wire.
The FMSCI Cup Class has been dominated so far by Jacob KJ (co-driven by Manoj Manmohan) and he holds a comfortable lead.
P G Abhilash (co-driven by Srikanth Gowda) leads the IRC Class with two wins, however, he will be racing in a Mitsubishi Cedia instead of his Mitsubishi Evo 8 as the car could not be shipped from Malaysia in time.
The Coffe Day India Rally will be an action packed event, set to go down in the history books as one of the most important motorsport events in the country. Watch this space for all updates.