Gill’s MRF team-mate Ole Christian Veiby had been leading the championship points, however on stage 3 the Norwegian driver went off road and into retirement. On the same stage Finland Jari Ketomaa retired after taking a jump too fast and ripping off his sump guard, while 5th placed Mike Young retired the Cusco Toyota Vitz with engine problems.
India’s Sanjay Takale was forced to stop on the stage when he got two punctures in his Mitsubishi Mirage.
“It’s been a great day for us and MRF, we made the perfect tyre choice, conditions were really rough, huge rocks and stones, really fast stages averaging over 125 kilometres an hour, good tyre choice and car setup really paid off. It will be good to start tomorrow in the lead, we need to finish the rally to be on top”, said Gill at evening service.
Ole Christian Veiby is expected to restart tomorrow.
Rally Hokkaido 2017 – Unofficial Day 1 Results
1. Gaurav Gill, 1:12:03.4
2. Yuya Sumiyama, +2:32.9
3. R. Blomberg, +6:59.0
4. E. Iwashita, +7:58.7
5. S. Imai, +9:04.3