Five-time National Rally Champion Gaurav Gill was decorated with the prestigious ‘motorsports person of the year award’ here at a glittering function organised by Federation of Motor Sports Club of India (FMSCI) in Hyderabad on Friday.
Gill, the reigning Asia-Pacific Champion had a spectacular 2016, winning all five rounds of the APRC to set a new record, received the trophy from Jean Todt, the president of FIA (Le Federation Internationale de l Automobile). A packed banquet hall stood up in unison to applaud his feat.
“It's an honour to receive the trophy from Mr Todt, one of the legends in the world of racing,” Gill, who has already won the trophy twice earlier, said in his acceptance speech.
“I will have to win it again and again so that it stays in my cabinet,” he quipped, referring to the fact that it's a rolling trophy.
The awards giving ceremony, an annual feature in the FMSCI, was organised at a much more lavish scale this year under the stewardship of its recently elected president Akbar Ebrahim.
“This is a special day for motorsports as the FMSCI was formed exactly on this day, 44 years ago,” Akbar said.
He promised to take the sport and the country to greater glory by bringing in more world class events while also ensuring that the infrastructure and quality of officiating reach international standards.
“We will tie up with all our partners so that racing not only becomes cheaper for our drivers and teams but also a much better experience,” he promised.
Akbar also pointed out that a new wing has already been commissioned to empower women and help them race in various disciplines, including motocross, drag racing and rallying.
FIA president Todt, the brain and power behind Ferrari's much feared Formula One team, couldn't stop marvelling at India's amazing culture and fascinating traditions.
“You are a country of over a billion people. We have a great challenge ahead of us. But it provides us so many wonderful opportunities too,” he said.
“India has always been a very strong federation in the FIA and I want to tell you that you now have a very strong ally in me to develop the motor sport in the country,” he added.