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Khazar Steppes: Misikov and Talantsev increase lead in Russia.

While crews and teams are preparing to the final day of rally-raid "Khazar Steppes 2009", we share with you some interesting news from this southern race. G-Force Motorsport driver Alexey Denisov continued his familiarisation with the steppe roads, but once again it was hindered by some reasons independent of him. Soon after the start the front propshaft on his car broke, and the driver had to tackle almost the whole distance only on the rear drive.

In addition the engine started overheating again (a gasket got damaged) which resulted in numerous stops for adding water into the radiator. Nevertheless, Alexey together with his exprienced co-driver Dmitriy Kozhukhov accomplished the task which had been set for the day - they made it to the finish. At the same time, even despite all the misfortunes, they managed to finish within the maximum allowed time, having crossed the finish line 37 seconds until the deadline.

Repeating the achievement tomorrow will be much more difficult, if not impossible. The crew will have to not only complete the whole distance (and in addition to a short superspecial there's a long lap of the classic Astrakhan's route to be run), but also pass all CPs, because missing even one of them will result in exclusion from the race. Taking into account that one such CP is placed just at the top of a sand dune, the mission to reach it behind the wheel of an overheating rear-wheel drive car becomes all but impossible. However, the G-Force Motorsport crew is aiming to do their best in order to overcome the obstacle.

The victory on SS3 went to Ruslan Misikov and Sergey Talantsev, whose crew significantly increased their overall lead. There was a big fight for 2nd place between Bogdan Novitskiy (co-driver Vitaliy Evtekhov) from the Georaid-RSG team and Misikov's Nart-Time teammate Yaroslav Solovjev (co-driver Vladimir Korolev). Eventually only 4 seconds (which is a mere difference for rally-raids) separated the Mitsubishi and Chevrolet buggy crews to the advantage of the former. Fifth overall, and best in T2, was Konstantin Zhiltsov, who kept on breaking away from his rivals. Unfortunately, one of the previous day's heroes, Andrey Biryukov, was unlucky again, but this time consequences were much harder for his crew. More details below.

It all started with an on-track collision between the car of Sergey Savenko and a civil freight car (russian Ford Transit analogue), carryins cows (!). The rally stage trespasser was coming from a crossing road, but didn't even slow down, even though Savenko had an advantage even according to the common traffic rules, as he was to the right from the van.

Sergey understood he couldn's slow down, because in that case the "cowtrucker" would have just run over his small buggy, and Biryukov, who was driving close behind, would have hit him also. The driver's experience suggested that he would step down on the throttle and try to avoid an accident. And it alsmost worked out! Almost - because the van did hit the rear fender and cracked plastic of the buggy.

However, there were no big damages, and Savenko continued competing. But the infelicific van stood still and hence provoked another incident. Biryukov, who was driving in dust about 30 seconds behind, saw the unexpected obstacle only when a few metres were left to it. From the moment on it was a standard karma sequence for a driver trying to avoid a crash and getting into an even bigger one: he fell into a ditch and broke an axle on his Mitsubishi. Retirement...

2009/08/09 | 14:13 CET | Editor: MR/ [ G-FORCE ] /Igor Chervonny

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