In Conversation with Gaurav Gill, FIA APRC Winning Rally Racer - Team MRF
We got in touch with Gaurav Gill, only FIA approved APRC winning rally racer in the country and drives for Team MRF.
Gaurav Gill, Rally Racer, Team MRF. (Image: Tijo Thomas/News18.com)
India is fast becoming a recognizable name in the global motorsports circuit thanks to recent developments like Formula 1 at BIC Circuit, Mahindra Formula E Team, Force 1 F1 Team and racers like Narain Karthikeyan and Karun Chandhok. Among all these big names is a man who managed to create a unique identity for himself – ace rally racer – Gaurav Gill.
The racer from India has a long and successful history of rally racing and is a global name now. He is the only FIA approved APRC winning rally racer in the country and drives for Team MRF. We got in touch with Mr Gill to understand the rally racing better and his love for the motorsports too. Here’s an excerpt from our conversation-
News18 – Tell us about your motorsports career?
Gaurav Gill - I had a brief, but a successful career in motorcycle racing, but not many know about it. Then I progressed to circuit racing also for a few years. Then I eventually, the love was obviously towards rallying and I jumped on the occasion after MRF tyres offered me a seat. From there, it’s been over 10 years been Team MRF.
News18 – What’s different between circuit racing and rally racing?
Gaurav Gill - Circuit racing is all about driving around man made courses, with 15 to 20 corners, whereas rallying is traveling from point A to point B over natural terrain. Also, crossing mountain passes, whether it is snowing or raining or blizzards, whatever it the temperature or condition maybe, we don’t stop racing. So it’s much more serious, much more difficult form of motorsports.
News18 – What difficulties do you face in rally racing?
Gaurav Gill - Some of the rallies are done in -10 degrees, and some of them, like Malaysia can go to +65 degrees inside the cabin, and it becomes really very hot. Also, we are wearing 4 layers of fire-proof clothing in that much heat, so it’s pretty much like sitting in an oven.
News18 – What cars are you currently driving?
Gaurav Gill - Currently I am driving the new MRF-Skoda R5 car, hand-built completely in the Czech Republic. It’s a turbo-charged unit with almost 300 horsepower. It weighs 1100 kg and is a 4WD car. It is one of the most successful and most modern car in the world right now. I also drive a Mahindra XUV500, which is again completely custom-built for the rally program in India.
News18 – How do you see current rally racing scenario in India?
Gaurav Gill - I am proud to say the Indian scene is by-far the best among the Asian countries. We have seen a lot of talent coming up here and the level of equipment used in India is very good right now compared to the Asian countries. Malaysia used to be a very good platform for rallying. But now India has got such good drivers and they are progressing very quickly.
News18 – What’s your take on Government’s view on motorsports?
Gaurav Gill - It’s a shame that the government and the FIA has a fallout. That’s the reason Formula 1 couldn’t continue in the country because they termed it as entertainment and not termed it as sports. I have asked all the ministers and sporting people to come out and understand the sport so they can then decide between terming it as entertainment or sports. We are more than willing to happy to take them out for a rally and make them understand what is it really about.
News18 – Any message for the budding rally racers in India?
Gaurav Gill - With an easy access to social media, a lot of people of are watching these sporting events of platforms like YouTube. They need to understand the safety aspect because this is a dangerous sport and it can lead to huge losses. People don’t understand the complications related to it. I would request not to race on public roads. We have good circuit in India like Delhi, Coimbatore. There is enough space and parking lots to drive your car and compete.
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