Gill to spearhead MRF challenge

Chennai, May 13 (IANS) India’s largest tyre manufacturer MRF has joined forces with Czech car maker Skoda to enter a two-car team in the six-round 2013 FIA Asia Pacific Rally Championship (APRC).

The team will be spearheaded by Indian driver Gaurav Gill (co-driver Glen MacNeall), who very nearly won the championship last year for MRF, according to a MRF press release Monday.

Gill will drive one of the team’s Fabia Super 2000 cars with current Finnish Rally champion Esapekka Lappi (Janne Ferm), piloting the second entry.

Team MRF won the Team Championship in the APRC four times (2003, 2005, 2010 and 2012). They also won the driver’s title in 2012 with Australian Chris Atkinson.

Team MRF’s Skoda Fabias will be run by the Racetorque Team from Australia. Skoda has also won titles in the Super 2000 World Championship, the European Championship and Intercontinental Rally Challenge.

APRC president Steven Kennedy added: “Official confirmation from Skoda that they will enter the 2013 APRC is great news and to bring the current Finnish champion Esapekka Lappi into the team adds another international element to our championship.”

The 2013 APRC begins with the International Rally of Whangarei in New Zealand from May 18-19. It also includes events in New Caledonia, Australia, Malaysia, Japan, China and Thailand.

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