CHENNAI : India’s top rally expert Gaurav Gill is confident of defending his crown when the opening round of the two-day MRF-FMSCI Indian National Rally Championship begins at MMRT track here on Saturday.In all, 31 teams will be competiting in the 40th South India Rally, with the star attraction being comeback man and former FMSCI president Vicky Chandhok at the age of 61.Vicky believes he is fit physically and mentally. “Touch wood, I’m in good shape. No fitness issues. I’m eager to compete. Let’s see how it goes. The desire to compete never dies in a sportsman. The rally gives me an opportunity to enjoy my passion. I’ll take part in the first round and then we (team VW Motorsports) will decide whether to continue in the other rounds,” said the veteran.
Any specific reason to compete when people his age prefer home comforts? “I last drove in a rally some 18 years back. The reason to come back is to see the pace of the drivers in this generation, in particular the likes of Gill. I’ve been following the sport, but there is nothing like competing and getting first hand idea of how racers drive today,’’ explained the former national champion.
“The Polo car is also another factor that influenced me to compete. The last time I drove I competed in a Mitsubishi Lancer. When I test drove the VW Polo R2, which has an exceptional engine, I was tempted to drive the vehicle in a competitive race,’’ added Vicky.Gill, representing Team Mahindra Adventure, will be assisted by navigator Musa Sherif.
“I’m confident and very keen on defending my crown. I’ll take it one race at a time. It’s nice to see Vicky Chandhok also taking part. There is no age limit for rallying and I’m sure he will do well,” said Gill.
Gill will be taking part in the World Rally Championship later this year.“This rally will be good preparation for the world meet. I’ll use a Mahindra engine but at international events it will be another engine. Every round of this championship is important for me. We have good competition in Amittrajit Ghosh, Karna Kadur, Rahul Kanthraj and Dean Mascarenhas. It’s going to be competitive,’’ signed off Gill.firstname.lastname@example.org