Jussi Valimaki and co-driver Jarkko Kalliolepo of Finland along with Katsuhiko Taguchi (Japan) and his co-driver Mark Stacey(Australia) will spearhead the MRF challenge for the FIA Asia Pacific Rally Championship title in 2007. Valimaki and Kalliolepo won the APRC champions titles in 2005 for MRF Mitsubishi and make a welcome return after a year in the World Rally Championship. Japan’s Katsu Taguchi has the most experience of any driver in the APRC – a drivers champion in 1999 and a regular competitor since 2003.
Mr K. M. Mammen, Chairman and Managing Director of MRF Limited welcoming Gaurav Gill to Team MRF. Gaurav Gill will be competing in the FIA Asia Pacific Rally Championship for Team MRF, along with team-mates Jussi Valimaki(Finland) and Katsuhiko Taguchi(Japan).
In a surprise move, MRF Tyres has entered a third car in the championship to be driven by Gaurav Gill a promising driver from New Delhi, India. MRF expects Gill to spend 2007 learning and gaining experience of the diverse conditions in the Asia Pacific region and hope this opportunity will lead to a more competitive international drive in 2008. Gil is to have some training and testing sessions in the UK or Finland before the first APRC event in April on the Pacific island of New Caledonia. An enthusiastic Gill who will be making his debut in the international arena, said, “We are going to try to finish each and every rally and collect the maximum points for the driver’s championship for Team MRF,” he said. A co-driver for Gill is yet to be finalised.
The MRF team will use the latest spec Mitsubishi Lancer EVO 9 cars prepared by Race Torque Engineering, Australia and are co-sponsored by Mitsubishi Ralliart of Japan . The MRF Mitsubishi team has won the championship twice before – with German driver Armin Kremer in 2003 and Jussi Valimaki in 2005.
Team MRF will participate in six of the seven rounds:
(1)New Caledonia-April 13/15,2007
(2)Rally of Canberra, Australia – June 1/3,2007
(3)Rally of Hokkaido, Japan – July 6/8,2007
(4)Malaysian Rally, August 10/12,2007
(5)Rally of Indonesia, Makassar, September 7/9,2007
(6)China Rally, November 12/13 November, 2007