Indian rally driver, Gaurav Gill and co-driver Glen Macneall, won the Rally of New Caledonia, the second round of the FIA Asia Pacific Rally Championship on Sunday.
With a comfortable overnight lead of 1min 56.1sec, the Team MRF Skoda driver claimed the first win of the 2015 season with a total time of 2hr 29min 16.4sec after 16 stages over a total competitive distance of 253 km.
Gill finished 39.6 seconds ahead of this team-mate Pontus Tidemand (co-driver Emil Axelsson), who clocked a total time of 2hr 29min 56.0sec.
On the concluding day of the Rally of New Caledonia, Tidemand, won all the seven tests to cut into Gill's overall lead, but the 2013 APRC champion had banked enough time on the second day to remain ahead of the former Junior World Rally Champion to the finish.
Jean-Louis Leyraud and co-driver Scott Beckwith finished in third place with a time of 2hr 35min 39.6sec completing a podium lockout by Team MRF Skoda drivers.
While Tidemand aimed to bag the maximum number of fastest stage times to collect bonus points after suffering a setback on the third stage following a puncture on Saturday.
Though, Tidemand won 13 of 16 stages compared to Gill's fastest times in three stages, the 2 minute advantage in the favour of the Indian driver on the third stage proved decisive in the end.
The victory in New Caledonia is even more significant for the Indian driver since it comes in the same week of being nominated for the prestigious Arjuna Awards by the Federation of Motorsports Clubs of India.