Indian tyre manufacturer MRF Tyres has confirmed that it will participate in the 2017 FIA Asia Pacific Rally Championship. The first round of the Championship will be held in Whangarei, New Zealand on April 28, 2017.
MRF Tyres has partnered with Czech car maker Skoda and entered two Race Torque-prepped Skoda Fabia R5. The cars will be driven by Indian rally driver, defending APRC champion Gaurav Gill and Norwegian driver Ole Christian Veiby.
Gill will be accompanied by veteran Belgian co-driver Stephane Prevot in the absence of Glenn Macneall from Australia. Prevot has previously partnered with Gill in 2016.
Gill's teammate Veiby is a member of Skoda's WRC-2 squad. He is making his APRC debut Veiby will compete alongside his co-driver Stig Rune Skjarmoen.
Gill has won the International Rally of Whangarei in 2014 and 2016. Gill said, "MRF have been doing a lot of development work on their rally tyres during the pre-season and I am hopeful of good performances."
He added, "The New Zealand Rally is a challenging event in terms of the terrain which is basically super-fast gravel surface where our speeds average around 120 kmph, and the grid which has a couple of drivers with WRC experience. I am familiar with the terrain and looking forward to the competition."
2017 FIA APRC Calender
Whangarei, New Zealand - April 28-30, 2017
Canberra, Australia - May 26-28, 2017
China - July 7 -9, 2017
Johor Bahru, Malaysia - August 11-13, 2017
Hokkaido, Japan - September 15-17, 2017
Chikkamagaluru, India - November 24-26, 2017