Friday, May 14, 2010

Spanish CCR season: A muddy start (does this surprise anyone?)

First race: Rally TT Serón (13. - 14. March)
Economical recession which hit Spain, affected also national cross country rally championship. Some companies such as Fedima (tires) and Öhlins (suspension) provided reasonable technical support in order to allure some more competitors and they succeeded. In the middle of March forty six crews lined up at the start line including two buggies.

The prologue was surprisingly won by Salvador Segura Asensio with Nissan Patrol. Last year winner Jose Francisco Gonzalez de Haro (Mitsubishi Pajero) was eleventh. Plenty of water and mud affected the race sometimes in a curious way. Francesc Selga’s prototype had no windscreen and very soon the cockpit was flooded. In a low temperature the crew was not able to finish the stage.

Almost half of a starting field failed to finish the rally. From twenty four of classified crews Manuel Plaza Perez (Isuzu D-Max) was the fastest. Jose Antonio Hinojo Lopez with production class Toyota Land Cruiser took the second place. Manuel Angel Garcia Gimenez (Bowler Wildcat) has always been among the top five and finished third.

Three out of five Nissans managed to cross the finish line and all of them were Patrol GR model. The prologue winner Segura Asensio occupied fifth, Jose Augusto Gonzalez Abellan fifteenth and Miguel Angel Manzanal Lopez twentieth place.

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Second race: Baja Almanzora (17. - 18. April)
Almost fifty vehicles gathered in the city of Huercal Overa for the second race of a national championship. Leader of a current ranking Manuel Plaza Perez (Isuzu D-Max) was there as well as 2009 winner Jose Francisco Gonzalez de Haro (Mitsubishi Pajero). Reigning production class champion Francesc Termens had replaced his Mitsubishi with a brand new T1 prototype based on Merecedes ML.

Jorge Gaig (Mitsubishi Pajero) quickly occupied the first place and held it for the whole first day of the race. The fastest man of the prologue Joan Rodriguez (Nissan Navara) lost a little but still managed to stay in top five. Muddy terrain became an inevitable obstacle for many and eighteen crews left the race before Sunday.

On Sunday Francesc Selga (Herrator Tomka) and Francesc Termens (Mercedes ML Proto) were the main challengers for Jorge Gaig. But their effort didn’t bring the wished result. On Termens’ proto throttle cable broke and the beast stood still. Selga lost his position after a series of punctures had chased him. That was the right time for Rodriguez to take back the second place. The third Enrique Reyes (Mitsubishi Pajero) leapt on a podium from the seventh place and was the fastest of production class vehicles.

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