Team MRF drivers Ole Christian Veiby and Gaurav Gill continue their fight for the 2017 Asia-Pacific Rally Championship (APRC) this weekend when the series resumes in Malaysia.
The Rally of Johor is the third round of the APRC, with Norway’s Veiby and India’s Gill having both secured a victory and a second placing so far this season.
Gill and co-driver, Stephane Prevot, won the opening round in New Zealand, while Veiby and Stig Rune Skjarmoen fought back to take the National Capital Rally in Canberra in May.
For this event, Veiby will have a brand new Race Torque prepared Skoda Fabia R5, while Gill will drive his regular Fabia R5.
Fast, flowing and technically challenging roads, spiced up with high humidity of more than 80 per cent, and temperatures above 40 degrees Celsius with heavy rainfalls will challenge the competitors.
“I think the best way to prepare myself for the rally is to do some work out in a sauna, wearing full clothes and my racing overalls,” Veiby said.
“It promises to be a tough event once again in Malaysia,” team boss, Lane Heenan, said.
“The events in Asia never fail to produce the toughest conditions of the season – not just for the drivers, but for the service crew as well, who have to work in hot and often wet weather.”
Team MRF’s main competition this weekend will come from a pair of Mitsubishi Mirages driven by Finn Jari Ketomaa and Swede Robert Bloomberg.
Young New Zealander, Mike Young, will also be in the running in a Subaru Impreza WRX.
After a super special stage gets the rally underway on Friday evening, the Rally of Johor will see competitors tackle seven stages over 158 kilometres on Saturday. The longest stage of the day is the 31.67km Tai Tak – Pipeline stage, that will be run twice.
On Sunday, a further six stages will face competitors, over a competitive distance of 76.24 kilometres.
With hot and humid conditions expected, and the high chance of torrential rain, the event will be a real test of man, machine and tyres – something the Team MRF drivers will relish.
Heading into the event, Veiby holds a slender two-point lead over his team-mate, Gill, in the APRC, while Team MRF hold a comfortable lead in the Team’s Championship.
APRC points after two rounds
1. Veiby (NOR), ŠKODA, 70 points
2. Gill (IND), ŠKODA, 68 points
3. Blomberg (SWE), Mitsubishi, 44 points
4. Ketomaa (FIN), Mitsubishi, 30 points