India’s Gaurav Gill set for WRC-2 outing in gruelling Acropolis Rally of Greece
New Delhi, Sep 5 (IANS) India’s ace rally driver Gaurav Gill is all set for his first outing in the World Rally Championship (WRC) 2023 season by taking part in one of the world’s toughest rally-raids -– the Acropolis Rally of Greece — scheduled from September 7-10.
Widely hailed as the ‘Rally of Gods’, the Acropolis Rally of Greece will cover a total distance of 1,235 km, including 15 special stages stretching across 307 km over four days this weekend. This year as well, the spectators will witness 72 teams fighting it out for their spot in the gruelling event.
Arjuna Award-winner Gaurav Gill, the only Indian amongst the world’s best rally drivers, will compete in the 30-car WRC-2 category in a specially prepped Škoda Fabia R5 alongside his French co-driver, Florian Barral. Supported by an excellent and potent pit crew team of the Italian team Delta Rally, Gill will try to set a new benchmark for himself.
The rally will also be featuring previous Acropolis winner and current WRC-2 Championship leader Andreas Mikkelsen along with title rivals Yohan Rossel and Sami Pajari.
The Skoda Fabia R5 Rally 2 spec car with a 5-speed, sequential, manual gearbox, that enables a driver to shift gears in milliseconds. The R5 is geared to touch a top speed of 200 km/h
Seven-time national champion and three-time APRC champion, Gill, will be in his element around the hot, dusty, and rock-strewn stages of the Rally Acropolis. Gill had put on a dazzling display of speed to finish sixth in a 35-car WRC 2 field last year, Gills’s team informed in a release on Tuesday.
On his participation this season, Gill said, “I’m really looking forward to driving in the Rally Acropolis. The sweltering heat, the dust, the rocky mountain passes, and the loose gravel all combine to make this one of the most punishing rallies on the calendar. This event is not for the faint-hearted, but these conditions play to my strengths. I expect to be in my element this weekend and I’m going to give it everything to bring home a strong result.”
Last year, Gill, a master of gravel, finished his campaign just about 1 second per km behind WRC 2 leader E. Lindholm, while recording some of his best performances against seasoned WRC top category competitors, like T. Neuville. Putting himself and his car to the ultimate test in a low-visibility situation in the previous year, Gaurav is all set to take on the challenge this season as well.
The action starts after the ceremonial flag-off in Athens on Thursday as the teams will be ready to take on the brand new EKO Super Special Stage located in and around the city’s waterfront spanning 1.48 km. The world’s top Rally drivers will run one at a time displaying their mean machines in front of thousands of fans.