India’s top rally driver, Gaurav Gill, added yet another first in his short, but illustrious career. According to latest World Rally Ranking released on Wednesday, September 7, the Delhi based driver has been ranked as No.1 in Asia. This is a first time that an Indian rally driver has claimed the top spot in the continent.
Gill, with 896 points is ahead of Fan Fan (China, 740 points) and Udhaya Muhammad Rafiq (Malaysia, 672 points). The “Flying Sardar” moved into the top spot in Asia on the back of a strong performance in the 2011 Asia Pacific Rally Championship. Currently he is placed third in the championship standing with 63 points after four rounds that has already seen him claiming two podiums in the opening round in Malaysia and Australia. With two rounds left in the 2011 APRC, Gill remains a strong contender for the drivers’ championship. Apart from that he is leading the FMSCI National Rally Championship with 111 points.Gill started his motors sports career as a motocross rider, before a severe injury forced him to turn to four wheeler rallying. He made his debut in 2000 in Scissors South India Rally and immediately impressed long standing observers with his speed and aggression on dirt.
In 2008 Gill won the Rally Of Indonesia thus becoming the first Indian to win internationally and in 2009 Gill became the first Indian to score points in the World Rally Championship in the Production Class at the Rally of Portugal for Team Sidvin India and the next year he notched up yet another first by winning a round in APRC in the Rally of Australia.
The World Rally Ranking was started on January1, 2010, with the objective to establish a transparent and objective criteria the world ranking of rally drivers and co-drivers across the world. Every continent and every nation in motorsport and rallying in particular has its champions and very often there are many, but it has always been hard to determine who is the No1, because the rally drivers of a nation or a continent do not always compete in the same national or continental championships. It becomes impossible to establish who is the first, because the leagues are different, the standings are multiple and drawn with scores and criteria which are different and not homogeneous.
Seven-time World Rally Champion, Sebastian Loeb of France heads the ranking with 7155 points. This list of elite rally drivers features the likes of 2011 Dakar winner, Al Attiyah Nasser and former WRC champion Petter Solberg.
Commenting on his latest achievement Gill said: “I’m extremely happy to attain the No. 1 spot in Asia. It has come after years of hard work and a lot of sweat and at times frustration. But this year I have set bigger target for myself and the team. Winning the 2011 Asia Pacific Rally Championship is the top priority for me and my team. I am also thankful to sponsor, Team MRF for the trust and faith they have placed in my ability. I hope with me becoming the No 1 will attract youngsters to rallying. With no new talent coming into Indian rallying in the last few years worries me.”