Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Europe is good to Nissan, Part 3

Part three and finally a win for Nissan. But this victory was tainted. Come and see what happened in Poland.
Baja Poland (September, 3. - 5.)

Part three and finally a win for Nissan. But this victory was tainted. Come and see what happened in Poland.

Baja Poland was a big show. HQ of the rally was located in “rally village” – place were service area was right next to various attractions for fans. RC models, kart-racing, balloon flights… everything to please spectators. Many of them came because of one man – Krzysztof Holowczyc. Polish rally idol, European 1997 rally champion and most successful Pole on Dakar was accompanied by his faithful co-driver Jean-Marc Fortin. Their Overdrive Navara was without doubts the best car in race.

Already prologue showed that “Holek” set the pace nobody can match. Only Slawomir Wasiak tried to keep up with Holowczyc. But his SAM MRT 09 (BMW-powered Mitsubishi) didn’t survive the tempo. Older generation of these Polish prototypes driven by Wlodzimierz Grajek was the second after the first day, almost 17 minutes behind leader. The third place belonged to Pole Miroslaw Wozniak with aged Navara and the fifth to Czech Jiří Přibyl with Nissan Kingcar.

Very tense fight for T2-class leadership between Juraj Ulrich and four Polish drivers was also fight of one Navara against four Pajeros. Yes, there were two Toyota Land Cruisers too, but one withdrew and other one was back in rankings. Ulrich once again showed his experience and skills and spent the night as T2 leader and 8th overall.

During Sunday Holowczyc proved once again that he had no competition in home-land. His advantage increased with every finished special to half an hour before the last quarter of rally. But special number 10 brought an unexpected drama. Technical problems with front left wheel slowed Holowczyc down and there was a chance he wouldn’t continue. Only chance to save the victory was an emergency service. But any help on liaison section is allowed only to competitors in race. No spectators, no mechanics. But two Overdrive mechanics worked very busily on crippled Navara. Despite all the people around and even steward watching it closely, provisional leader didn’t receive any penalty. How’s that possible? Stewards believed Holek ho repaired the car himself and nobody from his rivals appeal a protest. And that’s the way Holowczyc won Baja Poland.

Second place went to Grajek who won controversial tenth special. Wozniak ripped off the wheel and lost excellent third place. He was replaced by Dariusz Zyla (Mitsubishi Pajero). Also Přibyl lost position in Top 5 due to break failure of his Nissan Kingcar. Juraj Ulrich with his production Navara finished sixth overall and won T2 class.


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