Gill’s challenge for Otago Rally APRC

Internationally renowned rally driver, Gaurav Gill, will drive Hayden Paddon’s Hyundai i20 Rally2 in the upcoming Central Machine Hire Otago Rally on the weekend of April 12 -14.

Gill is a three-time Asia-Pacific Rally Champion and a seven-time Indian Rally Champion, with young Kiwi co-driver, Jared Hudson, calling the pacenotes for him.

In Paddon’s hands, the Hyundai i20 Rally2 is the reigning Otago Rally winner and has not been beaten in New Zealand. It will be run in the Otago Rally by Paddon Rallysport.

“I’ve been keen to compete in the Otago Rally for some time now, and am delighted to have this opportunity,” Gill said. “The roads will be fast this year, it’s going to be exciting.

“Paddon Rallysport is a top-ranked team, the car is state of the art, and this gives me the opportunity to really give it everything.

“The top Kiwis know these roads well and are in quality cars, it’s going to be a huge challenge. I can’t wait!”

Hayden Paddon and John Kennard 2023 Rally Otago – Hyundai i20 Rally2 – photo Euan Cameron

Gill will only contest the Asia-Pacific Rally Championship (APRC) component of the rally and won’t be eligible for Brian Green Properties New Zealand Rally Championship honours. His entry is primarily being supported by JK Tyre Motorsport, with assistance from Vamcy Merla, who is also backing the Asia-Pacific section of the rally.

“I’m grateful for the support of JK Tyre Motorsport and Vamcy Merla, they’re doing a lot for the sport.”

The Indian has competed in New Zealand before, but never in the South Island. He was a regular at the Rally of Whangarei during his successful APRC years, but his visit to Dunedin is another huge boost for the Otago Rally.

“We are thrilled to receive Gill’s entry. He’s a top-class driver with a huge track record in the APRC, and will be driving a state-of-the-art Rally2 Hyundai,” rally promotions manager, Roger Oakley, said.

“This is a great boost to the event. Along with Kris Meeke (Ireland) and Brandon Semenuk (USA), we now have top-level international drivers competing for the win in the APRC, Classic 2WD and Classic 4WD categories.

Gill’s rivals for APRC honours in the Central Machine Hire Otago Rally include Ben Hunt (Skoda Fabia), Robbie Stokes (Ford Fiesta) and local star Emma Gilmour in a Citroen C3.

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