Chennai, April 14: India’s leading tyre manufacturer MRF Tyres today confirmed their participation in the 2017 FIA Asia Pacific Rally Championship which commences in Whangarei, New Zealand, on April 28.
MRF, in association with Czech car manufacturer SKODA, has entered two Race Torque-prepared SKODA Fabia R5 cars to be driven by Delhi-based Gaurav Gill, the defending APRC champion, and Ole Christian Veiby of Norway.
Alongside Gill is veteran co-driver Belgian Stephane Prevot in the absence of regular partner, Glenn Macneall of Australia. Prevot partnered Gill only once before, in the 2016 Rally Hokkaido (Japan) where the duo won. Veiby, a member of the SKODA’s WRC-2 team and making his APRC debut, is paired with compatriot Stig Rune Skjærmoen.Gill, winner of the International Rally of Whagarei in 2014 and 2016, said: “MRF have been doing a lot of development work on their rally tyres during the pre-season and I am hopeful of good performances.
“The New Zealand Rally is a challenging event in terms of the terrain which is basically super-fast gravel surface where our speeds average around 120 kmph, and the grid which has a couple of drivers with WRC experience. I am familiar with the terrain and looking forward to the competition.”
The 2017 FIA APRC calendar is: Whangarei, New Zealand (April 28-30), Canberra, Australia (May 26-28), China (July 7-9), Johor Bahru, Malaysia (August 11-13), Hokkaido, Japan (September 15-17) and Chikkamagaluru, India (November 24-26).