Thursday, September 30, 2010

Europe is good to Nissan, Part 2

The second part of our small serial takes us to Hungary. Two Nissan drivers were capable to win but only one of them made it to the finish.

Hungarian Baja (August, 26. - 29.)

For the seventh year of its existence Hungarian Baja moved to another location; from the city of Veszprém to Dabas, near Capital City Budapest. Not everyone was delighted by this change as Veszprém’s military area was hugely popular but you can’t every time get what you want.

Hungarian Baja was a round of FIA International Baja Cup so it’s no wonder some of the best European drivers came. Krzysztof Holowczyc with Nissan Navara, as provisional leader of rankings, had to face G-Force Motorsport’s duo Boris Gadasin and Bogdan Novitskiy. You can’t rule out Belgian Joost van Cauwenberge with another Navara either. Add few strong domestic crews such as Erik Korda (Nissan Navara), Balázs Szalay (Opel Antara), Károly Fazekas (BMW X5) and you get tense and fierce fight for top positions. And as a cherry on top multiple German rally champion Matthias Kahle came with brand new SAM Mercedes 35 CC prototype.

And now as we have started with Kahle we can finish him already. The fifth place in prologue was a swan-song before withdrawal after just two Saturday’s specials. Gathering of data was the main goal so it was not a disappointment actually. The prologue winner Holowczyc didn’t last much longer, the fourth special was his last. He slipped out of track, hit a tree and thus handed the first place over to Gadasin.

A bad news: Holowczyc was not the only Nissan pilot to leave the race before the halftime. Massimo Cavinato, Márton Kristóf and Pál Lónyai were the unlucky ones.
A good news: No other Nissan - and there were five of them - enlarged a group of fallen.

If you have a hat, take it off to Erik Korda. While his South African Navara is powered by 4-litre Nissan engine, five of his nearest rivals use big-capacity Chevrolet engines. But only Boris Gadasin was faster. With a help from team colleague Novitskiy who effectively hindered Korda, Gadasin widen the gap and won the race. It was a satisfaction after last year’s DQ from the second place.

Korda was under permanent attack of Balázs Szalay. The stakes were high – title of Hungarian champion. Szalay had quite a lead but not big enough to slack off. This time he lost but Korda is still behind. With one last race in calendar only ill luck or technical breakdown can take the first national title away from Szalay.

Three Nissans made it to the top 10: army guy Zoltán Bálint finished sixth, Imre Varga ninth and Joost van Cauwenberge tenth. Gábor Attila put his Pathfinder on seventeenth position.

Part three will take us back to Poland.

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