Temporary rainfalls made the gravel tracks on the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido even more demanding for the teams competing in the fourth round of the FIA Asia-Pacific Rally Championship (APRC). On the shortest stage of the whole championship, the 0.96 kilometres of the opening show stage “Sammy Satsunai” close to the service park, O.C. Veiby was fastest followed by teammate and reigning APRC Champion Gaurav Gill.
On the opening stage next morning, Gill scored the fastest time and everybody expected the thrilling season-long battle between Gill and Veiby to be continued in Japan. But on the 29 kilometres of the third stage, all went wrong for the Norwegian youngster. After a big jump a shock absorber broke followed by a slow puncture. Veiby slightly went off the road, unfortunately got stuck in a ditch and had to retire. From there on Gaurav Gill was clearly in command, scored all the fastest time of the day and built up a comfortable lead.
ŠKODA youngster Ole Christian Veiby could re-start on Sunday, won the second leg and scored valuable championship points.
Reigning APRC Champion Gaurav Gill has it now in his hands to win his third title after 2013 and 2016 at the Rally of India (24 to 26 November 2017).
|2017 Rally Hokkaido – Final Results:|
|1.||Gill / Prévot (IND/BEL)||ŠKODA FABIA R5||+1:53:21.8 hrs|
|2.||Blomberg / Andersson (SWE/SWE)||Mitsubishi Mirage AP4||+11:41.4 min|
|3.||Imai / Farmer (JPN/NZL)||Subaru Impreza WRX STi||+14:43.6 min|
Number of the day: 0.96
With 0.96 kilometres only Rally Hokkaido’s special stage “Sammy Satsunai” is the shortest stage of the entire 2017 FIA Asia-Pacific Rally Championship.