World Rally Championship (WRC) Safari Rally Kenya, one of the most challenging rallies in the world has kick-started with the legends of WRC fighting it out for the top titles. Representing India in the grid is Arjuna Awardee Gaurav Gill who is making his powerful comeback in the World Rally Championship after a hiatus of two years since Rally Turkey & Australia 2019. Gill returns to WRC 2 driving a Skoda Fabid Rally2 car for the first time with Brazilian co-driver Gabriel.
While the WRC grid will see some serious face-off between nine-time world champion Sebastien Loeb of M-Sport Ford Puma Rally1 and eight-time world champion Sebastien Ogier of Toyota Gazoo Racing who won last year’s Safari Rally Kenya, our Indian driver Gill has competition from highest-placed championship contenders Polish driver Kajetan Kajetanowicz driving Skoda Fabia Rally 2 and Martin Prokop from Czech who is fielding his trusty Ford Fiesta Rally2.
Gill kicked-off his Safari Rally camping with style by clocking the fastest time in the Shakedown that is basically part of official itinerary for setting up the pace for the rally in the WRC 2 grid which comprises of eight world class drivers.
Considered as one of the most dreaded events of the season, Gill showcased his driving prowess and control on the machine in SS1- Super Special Kasarani by clocking the fastest timings of 3:32.9 in WRC2 grid, just 14.1 seconds off the leader Ogier driving a works Toyota in WRC1.
Speaking on his performance, Gaurav Gill said “We had a good start in the Shakedown for our team which helped us today to mark another fastest completion. We are working on improving our on-ground strategies to claim good results in the remaining stages. It’s a long and challenging rally. We’ll put our best of efforts to better our performance and hope to finish at the podium.”
The rally covering a distance of 1223.77kms with 363.44 kms of 19 grueling special stages started from Central Nairobi on Thursday. On Friday, the rally will span across the north & south side of Lake Naivasha today and the stages include Loldia (19.17km) and Geothermal (11.68km) – a brand-new stage which climbs over craggy rock-lined hills – as well as Kedong (31.25km), which is the longest stage of the rally.
About JK Tyre Motorsport:
JK Tyre has been closely associated with the world of motorsports for almost three decades. The company laid down a long-term plan to popularize and promote the sport in the country. Its first target was to change the notion that this was a sport for the elite. So, it packaged and redesigned it in a spectator-friendly way, drawing the masses to the sport. JK Tyre’s efforts started paying dividends in just a few years’ time, with the likes of Narain Karthikeyan and Karun Chandok going all the way to the F1 rung, the highest level of single-seat racing in the world. Since then, a number of stars emerged, including Armaan Ebrahim, the Maini brothers (Kush and Arjun), Anindith Reddy Konda, amongst many others. JK Tyre Motorsports is very proud of the role it has played in bringing women into motorsports in a big way. Apart from encouraging them to get into the sport through karting as kids, the company also gave them opportunities in various national championships. With a vision to promote women in motorsports, the company has curated women-centric events such as JK Tyre WIAA Women’s Rally to Valley, JK Tyre Defence Wives Power Drive, JK Tyre-YFLO Women’s Power Drive, JK Tyre Times Women’s Drive apart from introducing an all-women’s team in the JK Tyre National Racing Championship to encourage women to take up to the sport.