Gaurav Gill returns to WRC-2 with Safari Rally in Kenya
India's decorated rally driver and Arjuna Awardee Gaurav Gill on Wednesday announced his return to the World Rally Championship (WRC) 2022 after a two-year hiatus.
The three-time APRC (Asia Pacific Rally Championship) champion and a seven-time INRC (Indian National Rally Championship) champion will take part in the WRC Safari Rally in Kenya scheduled from June 23 to 26.
The 40-year-old will be driving the Skoda Fabia R5 in WRC 2, a car he is familiar with, with Brazilian co-driver Gabriel Morales.
Touted as one of the most challenging rallies on the WRC calendar, the Safari features 19 special stages covering almost 365km of competition crossing challenging closed dirt roads, rocky and rutted tracks and unpredictable weather which can transform dry and dusty trails into muddy bogs.
Gill's last outing in WRC 2 was pre-pandemic in 2019 in Rally of Turkey where despite missing out on completing his tryst with victory, he won a lot of praise for his commendable drive by the fraternity.
His outing in Rally of Australia came to a halt as the event was cancelled last minute due to the raging fire in the forest stages around the city of Coffs Coast, New South Wales.
"I am excited to return to WRC after a hiatus of over two years. I have utilized these two years of pandemic to reflect on my previous participations and have worked on improving my fitness and performance holistically while engaging in various top end activities besides National Rally championship.
"I am thankful to JK Tyre Motorsports for their support and I am optimistic of claiming good results for the country and the team, Gill said.
300,000 Euros scholarship program for up and coming racers
JK Tyre also announced a scholarship program of 300,000 Euros which will be utilized to promote upcoming talent who have proved their mettle on the domestic circuit.
"Up to five young talented athletes including a girl athlete from across verticals of motorsport will be identified to avail the scholarship," said the company in a statement.
The first one to be part of it is India's rising racing star, 17-year-old Amir Sayed from Kottyam, who proved his mettle and became the JK Tyre Novice Cup Champion in 2020 by winning all the 12 races of the season in his category.
Amir is in the French F4 Championship this year.
Sanjay Sharma, Head of Motorsports, JK Tyre said: With an aim to give the young talent the much-needed push, we have announced this scholarship program which will select kids from across categories and provide them a chance to bring in laurels by representing the nation at international platforms.