Australians Claim Maiden Junior World Rally Podium in Croatia
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Australians Claim Maiden Junior World Rally Podium in Croatia

By Shannons - 24 April 2024

Newcastle youngster Taylor Gill and co-driver Dan Brkic claimed second place in the Croatia Rally over the weekend, Round 2 of the Junior World Rally Championship.

Behind the wheel of the #56 Ford Fiesta Rally3, Gill entered his third-ever tarmac rally. He overcame adversity on Friday to steadily climb the standings throughout Saturday’s stages before holding strong on Sunday to secure second in class and 23rd overall.

Gill spun on the opening stage of the weekend, resulting in the ninth fastest time. Gill’s luck took a further hit on Stage 3 as a puncture put him on the back foot at the end of the Friday morning loop.

The Australians’ fortunes improved during the afternoon loop. Two stage wins rocketed him from ninth in the overall classification to third.

Saturday’s stages saw Gill progress to take P2 overall, where he remained after nine competitive stages.

The 20-year-old was in a strong position on Sunday morning. However, the gap to Estonian Romet Jurgensson in first was going to be difficult to chase down and surpass.

Gill and Brkic elected to control their pace and concentrated on consistency to secure second for the rally, with a healthy gap to Norbert Maior in third.

To be on the podium for the first time is really pleasing. Apart from the opening loop Friday, we had a really clean run” enthused Gill.

Rallying on tarmac is quite a foreign experience for an Aussie from Newcastle, but Dan and I put in a huge amount of work in the lead up to the Croatia Rally, so to come home with a podium finish is a great reward.

The stages were incredibly tough; at points throughout the [rally] it was like driving on ice, so it was really testing me.

On Sunday, it was all about holding position. We had a good buffer to third, but with only four stages left, the gap to first was too large to recover, so we focussed on being consistent and keeping our placing.

We still have three rallies left in the Junior World Rally Championship, so we’ll continue to work hard and try and build up as many points in the upcoming events.

The podium result is the first for an Australian competitor on the World Rally Championship stage since Brendan Reeves took third in the Acropolis Rally, Greece, in 2012.

Gill and Brkic now sit third in the Junior World Rally Championship, with two rounds of five run and won.

They will be back behind the wheel of their Fiesta Rally3 at Round 3 of the JWRC in Rally Italia Sardegna, May 30 – June 2.