The three-time APRC and six-time INRC champion will be driving a 1.6 Turbo R5 that has been developed by M-Sport. Supported by JK Tyre Motorsport, the rally ace will fancy his chances as most of the stages in the Rally of Turkey will be run on gravel, something that he relishes.
“We will carefully pick and choose the rallies that I will participate in this year, keeping in mind the car, the terrain and my strengths,” Gill revealed at a press interaction here on Friday. “I am excited about my first stint with a renowned team and a new support system in formidable JK Tyre Motorsport,” he added.
The recently decorated Arjuna Awardee has already had a satisfying exploration in the WRC-2 2018, having taken part in four rallies, one each in Italy, Finland, Wales and Australia as an unregistered driver. He won 11 stages despite facing challenges, underlining his prowess and skill at the top level.
Gaurav Gill was felicitated by JK Tyre Motorsport for his Arjuna Award recognition at the press interaction. The company’s Marketing Director Vikram Malhotra congratulated the champion, declaring the award as a watershed moment for Indian motorsport.
“JK Tyre is the pioneer in promoting motorsport in India. 90% of the kids racing abroad have come from JK’s programmes. Our association with Gaurav Gill has also started yielding results in developing our tyres, with the last two domestic rallies leading to the development of 3 variants of rally tyres. With top performances in international events, our victories with Gaurav will only add to our excitement and result in strengthening our programmed that will benefit Gen Next,” Mr. Vikram Malhotra, Marketing Director, JK Tyre & Industries Ltd, said.
Gill will be competing as a registered driver for the first time and will be picking up championship points, making it a huge landmark for Indian motorsport.
“I have worked with Gaurav briefly last year and it’s great to be able to continue that collaboration with him again this year. As a three-time Asia Pacific Champion, Gaurav is a talented driver with a lot of potential and we’re all looking forward to seeing how he progresses in the FIA World Rally Championship’s WRC 2 series,” Team Principal, Richard Millener, said.
“He’ll be taking to the wheel of our latest rally car – the all-new EcoBoost-powered R5 MkII which made its competitive debut earlier this summer. A lot of work and technology has gone into the design and development of this new car, and we’re all excited to see what some of the world’s best drivers can do behind the wheel – Gaurav included,” he added.
“This will change the way all stakeholders will look at Indian motorsport. Youngsters can hope for brighter prospects in the sport as schools and colleges will acknowledge Gaurav’s recognition and will treat it at par with any other sport. Sponsors will see more value in associating with the sport too, beyond using it as a testing ground. I wish Gaurav all the luck ahead of this important sojourn and hope that he will be able to live up to the expectations of the entire country,” Mr. Sanjay Sharma, Head-Motorsport, JK Tyre, said.
The 2019 Rally of Turkey will see the drivers cover a total distance of over 988.50 kms with 310.10 kms earmarked for 17 special stages. Most of the stages will be gravel with few of the stages running on concrete tiles and tarmac. The WRC will be broadcast live over 40 countries, featuring registered drivers and also could be seen online.