Changing weather, a mix of spontaneous rain showers and sunshine, made the 13 special stages (one stage had to be cancelled due to flooded roads) totally unpredictable.
On the short opening show stage on Friday evening on the race track of Johor, Gaurav Gill brought his MRF ŠKODA FABIA R5 to the finish with the fastest time ahead of teammate O.C. Veiby and stormed into the lead. When the rally started proper on Saturday morning with a 32 kilometres stage on the Tai Tak palm oil plantation, the first split time showed Veiby trailing Gill by 20 seconds.
Although he lost some time, at the finish line he was fastest and took the overall lead with more than one minute ahead of Mitsubishi driver Jari Ketomaa from Finland.
What happened to the intermediate leader Gaurav Gill? Fastest halfway through the stage, he left the muddy jungle road as well.
He bent a steering arm of his ŠKODA FABIA R5 and finished the stage at reduced speed. But that wasn’t the end of the story. After the stage at the refuelling point, the steering arm finally broke. Now Gill proved that he is not only a fast driver, but also a very skilful mechanic. He changed the broken part, got a road penalty for late arrival at the next time control but afterwards started his race to catch up. At the end, with a total of ten fastest times out of 13 stages, he had moved back into second position overall.
His teammate O.C. Veiby showed a stunning performance himself. With a clever and smart drive he showed, that he is not only able to drive fast but also to bring home a victory with a faultless drive.
|2017 Malaysian Rally – Final Results:|
|1.||Veiby / Skjærmoen (NOR/NOR)||ŠKODA FABIA R5||+3:02:39.1 h|
|2.||Gill / Prévot (IND/BEL)||ŠKODA FABIA R5||+4:41.7 min|
|3.||Ketomaa / Mannisenmäki (FIN/FIN)||Mitsubishi Mirage AP4||+5:00.4 min|
Number of the day: 3
Third double win in a row for Team MRF ŠKODA in the 2017 FIA Asia-Pacific Rally Championship.