Saturday, July 24, 2010

The Khazar Steppe (April, 23. - 25.)

The second race of Russian CCR championship took place in April in Astrakhan region which is known for its plain and vast steppes. Although four crews of last year’s top 5 were missing there were enough candidates for the first place. Among them were leader of FIA Baja Cup Bogdan Novitskiy with team colleague Boris Gadasin (both G-Force Proto) and national championship leader Alexander Zheludov (Mitsubishi L200).

Novitskiy fulfilled the expectations and won the prologue ahead of Zheludov and Alexander Mironenko (Nissan Frontier). Gadasin was significantly delayed by stone that hit and damaged the brakes. He eliminated most of his loss on Saturday’s navigationally difficult stage. This one’s was, for a change, cruel to Novitskiy - he spent 20 minutes repairing the accelerate rod. His first position was suddenly Mironenko’s first place.

Fourth place in general rankings belonged to Alexander Olejnikov (Nissan Patrol), the fastest one of T2 cars. He was followed by another T2 Patrol driven by Alexei Yashkov. The extraordinary status Kamaz trucks have nowadays was proved once again on this rally. Young gun Eduard Nikolaev, guided by six time Dakar winner Vladimir Chagin, was sixth overall after Saturday leaving 25 other rivals behind.

Sunday was the day of Gadasin’s brutal attack. He was fast, much faster than Mironenko. He was virtual leader already before the last section when mechanical malfunction stopped him. Skilled rally driver Zheludov is fast but still has some bad rally habits. Like sitting comfortably in a car while his co-driver is digging the car out of sand trap they are stuck in… Nevertheless he withdrew few kilometers later. And as Novitskiy failed to complete the race as well Mironenko was left on top alone.

After more than 200 kilometers Mironenko celebrated his win ahead of Ilya Kuznetsov (Mitsubishi L200) and Roman Briskindov (Mitsubishi Pajero). Eduard Nikolaev improved his position by two places and finished fourth overall. Vladimir Frolov took T2 winning position (Mitsubishi Pajero), Nissans grabbed third and fourth thanks to Olejnikov and Igor Sadovskiy.

Overall classification:
1. Alexander Mironenko / Sergey Lebedev  Nissan Frontier  6:10:02
2. Ilya Kuznetsov / Andrej Neshin  Mitsubishi Pajero  + 27:21
3. Roman Briskindov / Alexej Alexandrov  Mitsubishi Pajero  + 33:00
4. Eduard Nikolaev / Vyatcheslav Kizukaev / Vladimir Chagin  Kamaz 4326  + 40:36
5. Yuri Borovikov / Vladimir Rogozhin  VAZ 2123  + 56:53
6. Vladimir Frolov / Yevgeni Kalatchev  Mitsubishi Pajero  + 57:53

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