Indian rally driver, Gaurav Gill and his Team MRF Skoda team-mate, Pontus Tidemand, are set to face new challenges in the Malaysian Rally, the fourth round of Asia Pacific Rally Championship.
The south Malaysian province of Johor, which connects the mainland to Singapore, will host the rally amidst tropical forests and rubber plantations from August 14-16. The Malaysian Rally marks the Asian swing of the championship after the Pacific rounds that concluded with the International Rally of Queensland.
Gill's championship bid suffered a setback in the International Rally of Queensland when the engine of his Skoda Fabia S 2000 blew on the second day while leading the rally over his Swedish team-mate. The Indian ace is keen to return to the top step of the podium in Malaysia.
Gill goes into this round of championship on the back of his experience and familiarity of the conditions in this tropical country. He won in Malaysia last year and has finished second four times.
For Tidemand, it will be the first time out in this part of the world. Coming from much cooler and drier conditions in Europe, he will need to acclimatise quickly to the heat and humidity. Tidemand goes into this round with a healthy lead over Gill who had a DNF in Australia. But as the Swede has shown he can adapt very quickly to alien conditions.
For this rally, Gill's MRF Skoda Fabia S 2000 has got a new engine after the previous one suffered terminal damage in Australia.
The Malaysian Rally comprises 14 stages over two legs covering a total competitive distance of 226.56 km of special stages. For this year's event, the second and the ninth stages are new additions and they will be run twice.
The first leg of the rally will consist of eight stages covering a distance of 160.64 km, while the second leg that will be run on Sunday will cover a distance of 65.92 km spread over six stages. The Malaysian Rally will get underway with a 2.14km shakedown on Friday.