Interview: Gaurav Gill is positive about Mahindra's performance at Dakshin Dare 2018.
Photo Credits: Arjun Dheerendra
The 10th edition of the Maruti Suzuki Dakshin Dare will see Mahindra Adventure rally team venture into the Rally-Raid format after a long gap of 5 years. A total of three super XUV's are set to take on the Maruti Suzuki cars in the 5-day long rally which covers about 2000kms in South Indian and will test every driver’s skill, speed, and courage. India's best rallyist Gaurav Gill will lead the charge along with his teammates Amitrajjit Ghosh and Phillippos Matthai.
Sportskeeda spoke to Gaurav Gill before the rally was flagged off from Bangalore and this is what the champion had to say
SK: Coming back after 5 years to defend your win, what are your thoughts on the rally this year?
Gaurav Gill: It has been a long break for us, it was necessary for Mahindra to come out and venture into other opportunities and other formats of Rallying. We've had immense success in the INRC over the years, so we wanted to come back to long distance (Rally-Raid format) and cross-country rallying.
We've had a great car in the last couple of years, we wanted to make this a habit for the team and the drivers. The Rally Raid program is a good initiative and we are all looking forward to it.
SK: How different is this XUV compared to one in the National Rallies?
Gaurav Gill: Not much of a difference but this is slightly modified as per rally raid regulations.
SK: How has your machine evolved over the years?
Gaurav Gill: In 2012 we actually ran on stock suspension and just modified rally tyres from MRF, back then it was in its developmental phase. The car has been developed in the INRC where we drive them flat out for two days, small tweaks have been done to adapt to the format and hopefully, our strategy should pay off and we should be able to defend the title.
SK: The XUV has dominated in the INRC since its debut, a possible 1-2-3 at Dakshin Dare?
Gaurav Gill: Why Not! We have a good driver line up, we have got a fantastic car but its all about competing against each other in the rally. We should not forget the fact that it is a long distance rally which is not only about the drivers, respect the event, respect the fellow competitors. It is a long week ahead and our strategy should work well. I'm waiting to for go for it!