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After a tense season in the FIA Asia-Pacific Rally Championship (APRC) ŠKODA finally managed to win all titles. APRC Manufacturers Cup and APRC Team Award was already achieved on the last but one round. By winning the season’s finale at Rally of India ŠKODA FABIA R5 driver Gaurav Gill and co-driver Stéphane Prévot also won the drivers and co-drivers titles. MRF ŠKODA teammates Ole Christian Veiby / Stig Rune Skjærmoen suffered gearbox issues on the first leg, but fought back in impressive style to second overall, finishing as championship runner-ups as well. Gill won the APRC for the third time already. In 2013 he was successful with a ŠKODA FABIA S2000, in 2016 and 2017 he competed with a ŠKODA FABIA R5.

Ole Christian Veiby

His challenge was clear already before the start: He had to score seven points more than his MRF ŠKODA teammate Gaurav Gill, who came as championship leader to his home rally.

Gaurav Gill / Stéphane Prévot, ŠKODA FABIA R5, ŠKODA Team MRF. India Rally 2017
Gaurav Gill

In front of more than ten thousand enthusiastic rally fans on the first show stage at the Amber Valley Residential School, the battle for victory and championship honours started. Gill was faster than Veiby by the little margin of 0.2 seconds, all seemed to be set for a tense fight in the Indian forests.

Gaurav Gill / Stéphane Prévot, ŠKODA FABIA R5, ŠKODA Team MRF. India Rally 2017

Unfortunately all hopes for an epic fight between the two MRF ŠKODA teammates were gone as soon as the rally turned to the coffee plantations around Chikmagalur in the Southwest of India. During the second special stage Ole Christian Veiby and co-driver Stig Rune Skjærmoen were slowed down by a gearbox issue. Coffee tasted bitter for Veiby, who had to complete six more stages with a gearbox finally providing only third gear. 

Ole Christian Veiby

Thanks to the robustness of his ŠKODA FABIA R5, he could make it to the midday service in Chikmagalur. The mechanics of Team MRF ŠKODA demonstrated their class by changing the gearbox and the clutch in around 20 minutes, keeping Veiby in the rally.

ŠKODA FABIA R5, ŠKODA Team MRF. India Rally 2017
Ole Christian Veiby

After his teammates bad luck Gaurav Gill built up a clear lead already after the Saturday leg. The local hero drove faultlessly on Sunday as well, winning Rally of India and the APRC title for himself and co-driver Stéphane Prévot.

Gaurav Gill
Gaurav Gill / Stéphane Prévot, ŠKODA FABIA R5, ŠKODA Team MRF. India Rally 2017
Ole Christian Veiby

In the prestigious Asian-Pacific regional championship ŠKODA can look back on unparalleled success. Since 2012 each title winner has competed in a ŠKODA. Winning the first three championships with the normally aspirated ŠKODA FABIA S2000, the Czech brand now achieved the hat trick with the most successful rally car in its category, the turbo-powered ŠKODA FABIA R5.

ŠKODA FABIA R5, ŠKODA Team MRF. India Rally 2017
Michal Hrabánek