Gill claims Rally3 podium in final FIA Rally Star training event

Gill and fellow Australian co-driver Daniel Brkic enjoyed a clean outing on the German gravel roads to emerge as the best-placed finishers of the FIA Rally Star crews, finishing the event in sixth overall and third in the Rally3 class.

Organised and funded by the FIA, six driver and co-driver pairings have been selected from regional finals held across the world to tackle six European rallies this year behind the wheel of an M-Sport Ford Fiesta Rally3 car.

The best four crews at the end of the six rallies will receive a fully funded two-year programme in the Junior WRC beginning in 2024. If one of the finalists wins the JWRC title, they will earn a coveted WRC2 campaign for 2026.

A decision will now be made before the end of the month to determine which pairings will progress to the JWRC next year.

Last weekend outlined Gill is among the candidates to secure one of the four spots by claiming his third FIA Rally Star event victory after success on gravel in San Marion in June and Estonia in October.

“After a few challenging events it was really nice to have a clean rally and get back to doing what we do, trying to push and set good times with clean stages,” said Gill.

“The ruts were probably the biggest challenge on this event. We had ruts on the Saaremaa Rally so I guess that taught us a lot, but on this rally they were so much bigger.

“I’m getting more and more confident with that but there’s still a lot to learn. There have been some tricky moments this year, but there have also been some real highlights, so a positive season.

“If we got into the FIA Junior WRC it would mean a lot for sure. That’s what we’ve worked towards this year so if we can get a seat, it would obviously be a really nice confidence booster. We just have to cross our fingers and wait.”

All six Rally Star crews finished the Lausitz Rally. Bouncing back after his heavy crash on RallyRACC in Spain last month, Jose Caparo was the second of the crews to reach the finish more than a minute behind Gill in seventh overall.

South African Max Smart, who started the Rally Star competition having never contested a rally, was the third fastest. Three-time Rally Star winner Romet Jurgenson was fourth after dropping four minutes when his Fiesta rolled onto its side in stage two.

The Estonian, who has won three Rally Star events, did, however, claim the FIA Junior ERT Trophy title provisionally courtesy of his 10th overall and sixth in-class finish in Germany.

Abdullah Al-Tawqi was nine seconds adrift of Jurgenson to finish 11th overall. Annia Cilloniz reached the event finish despite suffering a gearbox oil leak on the opening stage and an excursion into a ditch on stage four.

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