Jan Kopecky Leads Gaurav Gill At APRC Rally Of Whangarei - Overdrive
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Jan Kopecky leads Gaurav Gill at APRC Rally of Whangarei

12 Apr 2014 / 0

Team MRF has finished the first day with an impressive 1-2 at the VINZ International Rally of Whangarei, the opening round of the 2014 FIA Asia Pacific Rally Championship (APRC). The team showed a strong performance with their driver Jan Kopecky and co-driver Pavel Dresler finishing the proceedings ahead of teammate and reigning APRC champion Gaurav Gill.

Kopecky_Whangarei

Jan Kopecky said that the emphasis was on not pushing too hard and the focus was on not making any errors. It didn’t seem like he wasn’t pushing his MRF Tyre clad Skoda Fabia S2000 car, as out of six special stages that took place he not only topped five of them but also put a huge gap of 23.2 seconds between him and the rest. This is what he had to say,”We are happy but we are not pushing too hard as we do not know the stages and tyres – as to how they go. So I have to find a rhythm and the speed to know how much I can push to be safe and finish. The dust was in a few places – maybe four/five places in each stage, so not a big issue. I have a lead but tomorrow everything could be different.”

Gill_Whangarei

Defending champion Gaurav Gill had a good start but spun out on stage two which cost him a huge amount of time. Later on too he struggled with rear tyre grip especially in the final long test of the day. The champ later showed his class and recovered lost time finishing just a few seconds off his teammate and rival. This is what he had to say at the end of the day, “There was just way too much gravel and I may have been a little too conservative thinking not to overdrive it – and that’s how we lost a lot of time. On stage two we lost all grip at the rear and had a spin, so we lost a lot of time. We got some time back in the next stage and are only a little slower than our team mate.”

The Team MRF Skodas were uncatchable with both of their cars staying four minutes ahead of the pack. They have put up a strong show and are looking like the team to beat this season.

The teams will now look to make a good impression on the night time super special stage at Hella Pohe Island. After the night lit spectacle, the teams depart Whangarei at 7.55am for the six remaining stages.

 

JAN KOPECKY EDGES GAURAV GILL ON DAY 1 AS TEAM MRF TAKE COMMANDING 1-2 LEAD AT APRC RALLY OF WHANGAREI

April 12, Whangarei, New Zealand: Team MRF Skoda driver Jan Kopecký from the Czech Republic, has surged to the lead of the VINZ International Rally of Whangarei, opening round of the 2014 FIA Asia Pacific Rally Championship (APRC). Reigning APRC Champion Gaurav Gill is in second place with the two Team MRF Skoda cars 4 minutes ahead of the rest of the field. Of the six special stages contested so far today Kopecký and co-driver Pavel Dresler topped the time sheets on five of them, amassing a lead of 23.2seconds in their MRF Tyres ŠKODA Fabia S2000 car.

Starting second car on the road, behind team mate and defending APRC champion Gaurav Gill, Kopecký said the emphasis was on not making mistakes. He commented, "We are happy but we are not pushing too hard as we do not know the stages and tyres – as to how they go. So I have to find a rhythm and the speed to know how much I can push to be safe and finish. The dust was in a few places – maybe four/five places in each stage, so not a big issue. I have a lead but tomorrow everything could be different.”

For Gill, also in a MRF Tyres ŠKODA Fabia S2000, he reported a clean run of the roads – however struggled in the final long test of the day.

"There was just way too much gravel and I may have been a little too conservative thinking not to overdrive it - and that’s how we lost a lot of time. On stage two we lost all grip at the rear and had a spin, so we lost a lot of time. We got some time back in the next stage and are only a little slower than our team mate” said the 32-year-old champion – who’d been previously near level pegging with his team mate and rival.

Teams now have a double run of the night time Hella Pohe Island Super Special stage – totalling 2.5km. While not expected to change the overall standings there is a chance for an upset should a team fail to finish the lit spectator spectacle.

Sunday’s six remaining special stages take teams south of their Whangarei city base and to roads familiar to many. Departing Whangarei from 7:55am the competition is split with the morning loop of three stages repeated early in the afternoon.


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