ŠKODA has good reason to celebrate at the Rally Malaysia: the successful Czech car maker has secured its fifth consecutive manufacturers’ and drivers’ title in the FIA Asia-Pacific Rally Championship (APRC). On top of that, India’s Gaurav Gill has already claimed the drivers’ trophy in the prestigious continental championship with his fifth season win in the fifth round of this APRC season.
It is Gill’s second drivers’ cup, having won in 2013. This means that the ŠKODA MRF team already has the most important titles in the bag ahead of the grand season finale in Gill’s native India from 3 to 5 December.
Experienced Gill (34) was rejoined by his usual co-driver Glenn Macneall at this event and was the measure of all things once again at the Rally Malaysia. He initially fought it out with the second ŠKODA MRF duo, Fabian Kreim / Frank Christian, during the first five stages on Saturday, held around the city of Johor Bahru in the blazing heat. Then, Kreim – who recently won the German Rally Championship – made a mistake and was unable to continue that day due to a technical problem. He returned on Sunday, however, and put in five best times on the muddy tracks to finish in the overall ranking in third place. This gave the German driver his fifth podium position in the APRC during his first season on gravel.
Meanwhile, APRC expert Gaurav Gill took the top spot on the podium for the fifth time this year.
It is the fifth time in a row that a ŠKODA driver has won the APRC, following victories by Chris Atkinson (2012), Gill (2013), and works drivers Jan Kopecký (2014) and Pontus Tidemand (2015), who were both competing in the British round of the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) this weekend while the Rally Malaysia was under way.
ŠKODA also has an unbeatable lead ahead of Subaru in the APRC Manufacturers’ Championship. This latest title was partly thanks to the talented 24-year-old Fabian Kreim and his co-driver Frank Christian.
The number of the Rally Malaysia: 14
The ŠKODA FABIA R5 was the standout car once again in the fifth round of this APRC season. The Rally Malaysia was made up of 14 stages covering just over 230 kilometres, and the high-tech four-wheel-drive from the Czech Republic was unbeatable on every section. Winner Gaurav Gill claimed the best time on eight stages and his team-mate Fabian Kreim was the fastest driver six times.