ŠKODA MRF Teams Ole Christian Veiby / Stig Rune Skjaermœn and Gaurav Gill / Stéphane Prévot were engaged in a fierce battle right from the start of the Rally of Whangarei. Reigning champion Gaurav Gill, this time paired with co-driver Stéphane Prévot, was fastest on the opening short “Super Stage”. During the first leg the Norwegian rookie team Ole Christian Veiby / Stig Rune Skjaermœn took the lead. On the third but last stage, Veiby had a technical issue, after a roadside repair incurred a time penalty and dropped to second place behind teammate Gill. The two-time champion finally secured victory on the opening round of the APRC 2017.