|20th Italian Baja: Brazilian duo Varela/Gugelmin leading rally on Saturday|
Surprise at the second day of the FIA World Cup opener 2012 in northern Italy: The Brazilian duo Reinaldo Varela / Gustavo Gugelmin is leading the Baja in the cars category - with their all-new Overdrive Toyota Hilux. As we remember, last year the Brazilians started with a Mitsubishi Pajero in the T2 production class, now they changed to the "Kings-Class" T1 - and showed their potential in 02:18:02 hours.
The second leg on Saturday was split in three rounds with 60 km each and two different regrouping zones. The stage started near the village Spilimbergo, nearly 1/3 of the stage was located in the partially flooded and stony Tagliamento riverbed.
The Brazilians were fast - but also profited from a small technical problem of the X-raid Mini of Kristof Holowczyc and his navigator Andy Schulz, who reached the second place today. "We lost only some seconds, but then we had to overtake a lot of participants" the Pole told after the stage. "But we will see tomorrow." With 02:18:35 hours he only has 33 seconds to the leading Brazilians.
Third became "Le Patron" Jean-Louis Schlesser and his navigator Konstantin Zhiltsov, they only lost 3:05 minutes to the leader. But Schlesser was good for another record: At the legendary "Cantina Rauscedo" jump, an official spectators point, he did not break for a second and impressed with the highest and longest jump - more then 100 meters, nearly 2 meters high... you could see that Schlesser really had fun during this stage.
After the shock on Friday, when FIA officials denied the start of the three Russian/Ukrainian G-Force proto, the Russian team officially protested, got a penalty and could start again on Saturday. Bogdan Novitskiy and his codriver Roman Polishchuk finished as best G-Force on 5th position after the Pole Adam Malysz in his Overdrive Toyota. Last year´s winner Vladimir Vasilyev only finished as 33rd, one position behind his teammate and "team-leader" Boris Gadasin.
So, a bad rally for the G-Force crew - but a nice one for the Overdrive Toyotas. Behind Varela and Malysz, Toyota-"newbee" Ruslan Misikov finished 6th, Nunzio Coffaro from Venezuela 9th, the privateers Murashkin/Tyupenkin 11th. Only the Hungarian Erik Korda, also with a private Overdrive Toyota, had a really bad day. "We lost a lot of time after a navigation mistake and got a big penalty, so with officially 21:16:08 hours we don´t have any chances now" so they retired from the race. "But we will see, our idea is to drive all the FIA World Cup in this year, so it´s just the beginning" he told.
Romanian Costel Casuneanu with his "reborn" Mitsubishi Racing Lancer finished 7th, one position in front of the Hungarian Opel Mokka of Balacz Szalay. "But I´m not happy" commented Costel. "We had to follow a different participant for a long time, he didn´t let us overtake. Then he kicked up a stone, which destroyed our windscreen - and we lost again more time. But we will change the screen and will see what will happen tomorrow."
The likeable Miroslav Zapletal from the Czech Republic as usual pushed his Hummer H3 proto - but then a broken differential slowed him down and he only finished on 39th position from 44 cars overall in the FIA ranking.
A really, really bad day had the Italians Mauro Cantarello and Mauro Colizza, which started in the regional TH-class with a Mitsubishi Pajero Pinin. In the first part of the stage they rolled their car, came back to the paddock, fixed the car with tape and cable ties and went back in the stage. But their luck left them again - and they crashed a second time. But this time very hard and they totally destroyed the Pajero Pinin.
Same track as yesterday, but faced in the opposite direction for the third leg, characterized by two selective sections. “Rauscedo A” (28,49 km): The cars start at 10:45 am and 2:30 pm; bike start at 8:05, 9:55, 1:15. “Rauscedo B” (38,00 km): car start at 11:25am and 3:10pm; bike start at 8:45am, 10:35am, 1:55pm. Prize giving ceremony at the Pordenone Fair at 4:15pm (bikes) and 5:00pm (cars).
2013/03/16 | 21:15 CET | ARTICLE: MR/HS