Indian star expecting huge challenge

Gaurav Gill eagerly awaits his first taste of the Otago Rally. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
Gaurav Gill eagerly awaits his first taste of the Otago Rally. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
Gaurav Gill will step into some big shoes at the Otago Rally next month.

Gill will drive Hayden Paddon’s Hyundai i20 Rally2 in the April 12-14 event.

The three-time Asia-Pacific Rally champion and seven-time Indian Rally champion will have young Kiwi co-driver Jared Hudson calling the pace notes for him.

In Paddon’s hands, the Hyundai i20 Rally2 is the reigning Otago Rally winner and has not been beaten in New Zealand.

It will be run in the Otago Rally by Paddon Rallysport.

"I’ve been keen to compete in the Otago Rally for some time now, and am delighted to have this opportunity," Gill said.

"The roads will be fast this year. It’s going to be exciting.

"Paddon Rallysport is a top-ranked team, the car is state of the art, and this gives me the opportunity to really give it everything.

"The top Kiwis know these roads well and are in quality cars. It’s going to be a huge challenge.’’

Gill will contest only the Asia-Pacific Rally Championship component of the rally.

The Indian driver has competed in New Zealand before, but never in the South Island.

He was a regular at the Rally of Whangarei during his successful APRC years, but his visit to Dunedin is another huge boost for the Otago


"We are thrilled to receive Gill’s entry,’’ rally promotions manager Roger Oakley said.

‘‘He’s a top-class driver with a huge track record in the APRC, and will be driving a state-of-the-art Rally2 Hyundai.

"This is a great boost to the event. Along with Kris Meeke [Ireland] and Brandon Semenuk [United States], we now have top-level international drivers competing for the win in the APRC, classic 2WD and classic 4WD categories.’’

Gill’s rivals for APRC honours in the Otago Rally include Ben Hunt (Skoda Fabia), Robbie Stokes (Ford Fiesta) and local star Emma Gilmour (Citroen C3).