|Italian Baja: Third victory for Russian Boris Gadasin with his G-Force Proto.|
Russian triumph at the Italian Baja, opening race of the Fia World Cup for Cross Country Rallys. After heavy rainfalls before the rally, the stages were shortened extremely, the participants just had to drive nearly 250 kilometers. Only one waterhole set the offroad-status, the rest could be driven with normal WRC-cars. Good for the "fast-speed drivers", bad for the offroad-optimized cars.
The "Zar" of St. Petersburg, Boris Gadasin, together with Dan Shchemel on his G-Force Proto, won again for the third time, as he did in 2007 and 2009, with the time of 02:24:03 hours, and a gap of 52 seconds ahead on the challenger Leonid Novitskiy from Moscow, official X-raid BMW driver navigated by the German Dakar-winner Andreas Schulz.
Sensational: Third position for the Germans Matthias Kahle and Dr. Thomas Schuenemann at the "Italian Baja Premiere" of the all-new SAM Mercedes 35CC with a gap of 3:36 minutes, fourth place for the Czech Miroslav Zapletal and Tomas Ourednicek. The former World Champion Zapletal had a big surprise, instead of his Hummer H3 Proto he started with his new X-raid BMW - and missed the win with a gap of 7:34 minutes.
"I´m very happy" Zapletal told after the rally. "I´m missing my Hummer H3, but this car is great, full of power. It´s the former car of the Dakar-winner Nasser Al Attiyah. Fourth place in the first rally with this car, it´s great!."
The fifth position was seized by the French champion Jean Louis Schlesser and his codriver Jean-Paul Forthomme, who was already used to fight at the Italian Baja. His 2 driving-wheels Buggy had to recognize the power of the 4 driving-wheels vehicles, also because of a ground made even harder by the mud, after last week’s heavy rain.
Foreign teams are as usual on the top of the overall ranking, seizing the first seven positions. The Spanish Joan Roca, suddenly first after the prologue on Friday, unfortunately had to retire because of the broken steering-wheel.
Also two teams had their FIA-premiere in Italy. The Polish "RMF Caroline Team" started with their two Porsche Cayenne T2 - and finished the race. Leader Albert Grysczuk, well known from the "Breslau"- and "Great Escape"-Rallies had problems with his suspension but finished luckily 7th in T2 and 30th overall, his teammate Pluciennik 8th in T2 and 36 overall.
On Saturday the RMF Caroline Team invited all participants to a big party with incredible great food, drinks, girls and barkeepers until Sunday morning - maybe it was the first time, that the Italian Baja had a real good party.
From Germany the FIA-premiere of the both Lennson CC Mercedes was also a success. The German Rallyraid Champions Stephan and Frank Stensky drove their first FIA-rally, everything was new for team (in the German Championship you don´t need FIA regulations). They finished 19th overall - even if the new route was "too boring" for the car. "This car is made for offroad, not for WRC" said Frank Stensky. The second Lennson CC was driven by the pair Ingo and Silke Kaldarasch - the second race with the car and also first FIA-participation. They finished 34th.
Foreign domination also among quads, thanks to the victory of the Portugueses Andrée Mendes ahead on Acurcio De Sousa, with a gap of just 3 seconds, while the third position has been seized by Simone Toro (all of them on Yamaha).
Thrilling show among bikes, with the second success of Alberto Basso with Husqvarna. The biker from the near town Porcia was able to get an over 5’ gap ahead on Ugo Filosa, actual vice European champion, who seized the second position, and the Portuguese Rui Costa (everybody riding Husqvarna).
2011/03/20 | 19:14 CET | ARTICLE: MR/SY