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Northern Forest Baja: World-level event in Saint-Petersburg.

A rally-raid of the world’s level, the “Saint-Petersburg – Northern Forest” Baja 2009, the 2nd round of the FIA International Cup for Cross-Country Bajas and the 1st event in the Russian Cross-Country Championship, will be held in the region of Saint-Petersburg at the end of February.

Only for the first time will Saint-Petersburg host a round of one of the world’s most prestigious rally-raid series. Last year the competition was run as a candidate event, and the Federation Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA, world motorsport governing body) highly praised the quality of organisation and the competitive side of such a unique race – the only snow and ice Baja in the world.

This year, being a real round of the Cup, the Baja in Saint-Petersburg will become first in the season where sportsmen can collect points to their tally: formally “Northern Forest” stays the 2nd event in the FIA series, however the first round, to be held in Saudi Arabia, unfortunately won’t count for points, thus making the Russian Baja the first points-scoring opportunity for crews and their teams.

“Saint-Petersburg – Northern Forest” is the first ever race in the series to be run in winter conditions. But most of the international competitors don’t have much experience of driving a race-spec car on the snow and icy surface. This fact promises to make the Baja in Saint-Petersburg a very interesting event with an unpredictable plot.

The bright and gorgeous ceremonial start will take place at St.Isaac’s square of Saint-Petersburg on Thursday February 26th at 20:00 (17:00 GMT) local time. The race itself will start on Friday February 27th at 12:00 with a Super Special Stage for the “Cup of the Leningrad Region Governor” at the new stadium of technical sports “Ladoga”, which is situated in the Kirovskiy district of the Leningrad region (Leningrad was the name of Saint-Petersburg from 1918 to 1991, and while the original name was returned to the city after the breakup of the Soviet Union, it was decided to leave its region with the “soviet” name as a reminder of a significant part of the Russian history). The prizegiving for the Cup will be held at 15:00 at the “Breaking of Leningrad siege” monumental diorama.

For February 28th and March 1st the race venue of the “Northern Forest” Baja will move to the ski resort “Igora”, and the competitors will tackle special stages in the Priozersk district of the Leningrad region, close to Gromovo settlement. On Sunday March 1st the first crews will walk up the finish podium in “Igora” to celebrate their triumph on the 2nd round of the FIA International Cup for Cross-Country Bajas.

2009/01/29 | 01:05 CET | Editor: MR/Northern Forest/Rita Konya

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