Two-time Asia-Pacific Rally Champion Gaurav Gill is confident that India can pull off a WRC event in near future, despite the challenges posed by an event of such a magnitude.
During December, India hosted the final round of APRC, the first FIA-sanctioned event in the country since Formula 1. The rally was mooted as a success, with drivers praising the tight-and-twisty nature of the route.
Indians officials have now started discussions with WRC organisers about a possible round in the country, with 2019 being set as the target date by both parties.
Gill, unarguably nation’s best rally driver by a country mile, believes if an organiser is willing to take the initiative, a WRC rally in India might well become a reality.
“It’s great to have such a big event [APRC] in our country and hopefully one day we can bring the WRC here,” the 35-year-old told Motorsport.com. “WRC demands a lot of discipline and and logistical support from big companies.“
“I’m sure [a WRC rally can be staged] if an organiser is willing to take the sport to that height. All these things have to be taken care well in advance.
“You need to have a lot of partners with different companies to manage this kind of event because you will see over 125 cars, which is the average number.
“An event like this goes straight up to the level of a Formula 1 race.
“The city has to be able to accommodate hundreds of people and hundreds of crews that will come along and so on. I’m sure we can have an event of that magnitude, but maybe [in] a few years from now.”
MRF preparing tyres for Europe
Despite his strong record in APRC against factory Skoda drivers who get far more car time, Gill has been unable to find a permanent place in the World Rally Champion or any of its companion series.
But the Delhi-based driver hasn’t lost hope of competing in the top echelon of rallying yet, as he continues to work with long-time backer MRF to prepare tyres that can compete against more established international companies.
“I’ve been working closely with MRF to develop a tyre that can compete against the top tyres around the world,” he said when asked about a possible drive in WRC2. “Since that is ready, we’ll be looking at European market.”
When pressed further to name the championship(s) MRF was targeting, Gill was tight-lipped: “I can’t comment, but I can tell we are in the process of developing a tyre which is very good and will be competitive.”