Indian veteran rallyist Gaurav Gill has been on a roll in the year 2017. First, the 34-year-old successfully defended the FIA Asia Pacific Rally Championship title and now he has followed it up with a championship win in the 2017 Indian National Rally Championship.

Gill dominated the 2017 National Championship driving the Mahindra XUV500 with co-driver Musa Sherif for the Mahindra Adventure team. The New Delhi-based driver started off the season with a handsome win in Rally of Coimbatore.

He made it two in a row in the Rally of Jaipur, but had to miss the next Coffee Day Rally in Chikmagalur as he was racing in the international APRC event. But he returned to the INRC fold in the Rally of Arunachal, where he claimed his third win of the season, inching closer to the title.

Due to postponements, the 2017 finale was pushed into the year 2018, but Gill remained unfazed and took his fifth National title after winning the K1000 Rally in Karnataka on Sunday. Such was Gill’s dominance that he won all the four rounds he competed in to score a perfect 100 points.

“It was a perfect day, a perfect finish for us,” Gill said after the win in K1000 Rally. “The first couple of stages were slippery but we managed to handle them well, we controlled the rally thereafter,” he added with a beaming smile.

Finishing second overall was INRC3 class champion Dean Mascarenhas with co-driver Shruptha Padival in the Mitsubishi Cedia. Mascarenhas had a good 2017, but could only manage ninth place in the K1000 Rally after enduring a crash in Stage 1 and a puncture in Stage 2.

Meanwhile, third position went to INRC2 class runner-up Karna Kadur with co-driver Nikhil Pai. The defending INRC champion had a mixed year driving the Volkswagen Polo, which included a win in the Coffee Day Rally. The INRC2 class win went to Rahul Kanthraj with co-driver Vivek Y Bhatt driving the Mitsubishi Cedia.

For Gill, the INRC title-win is a nice icing on the cake after his triumphant 2017 APRC season, where he faced a stiff competition from his Team MRF teammate Ole Christian Veiby in the five rallies - both driving the same Skoda R5 car.

Gill started the season with a win in New Zealand, but Veiby fought back to win the Australian round. The Norwegian WRC2 driver took victory in Malaysia as well to pile on the pressure on Gill, especially with the cancelation of the Chinese round.

But Gill put his best foot forward to win in Japan, keeping his championship chances alive. It was then delivering a dominant performance in his home rally in India to retain the title – winning the APRC crown for the third time in his career after 2013 and 2016.

Such has been his performances that Gill has been widely tipped by many that he deserves a shot in the FIA World Rally Championship. But lack of budget has always hurt his chances with manufacturers opting for home-grown talents or drivers coming in with some financial backing.

However, it seems like Gill’s dreams may finally come true in 2018 with reports suggesting that the Indian will compete in few selected rounds in the WRC2 category of the world championship for Czech manufacturer Skoda, with whom he races in APRC.