It is finally done and dusted, Delhi-lad Gaurav Gill is the new 2013 FIA Asia-Pacific Rally Champion. Having come close to taking the title last year only to fall prey to Chinese road construction precision, he did it all brilliantly to wipe out the tragic memories from 2012 and write his name down in the history books.
The first Indian ever to win a top flight FIA rally championship, Gill did so by leading from the front and battling some of the best rally drivers in the world. And unlike many others the consistency in his winning runs on diverse events in Japan, Australia, Malaysia, New Zealand and elsewhere have marked him out as one of the hottest talents there is on the gravel stages in the world.
Probably he is the best driver India has ever produced and one whose raw speed and car control is peerless, probably many need to reappraise where he stands only because of our fixation with F1. In a sport where reflexes and stamina are just as important as skill and racecraft but that too over varying terrain where every corner is different from the other, it makes rallying an epic stage where F1 just can’t hold a candle to.
Also do shed a thought for Team MRF which has been involved in the FIA Asia-Pacific Rally Championship now for the better part of a decade. The Chennai-based team has won the title with foreign drivers on a couple of occasions but to have done it with an Indian driver speaks volumes for their commitment to the motorsport cause in India. Wonder when Vijay Mallya would consider giving an Indian driver at least a test in one of his Force Indias.