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Northern Forest: Boris Gadasin wins stage 2 in front of Misikov.

The second Leg of the "Saint-Petersburg - Northern Forest" Baja consisted of three loops over the same stage held in Priozersk district of the Leningrad region. The 84 kilometres long stage was a mix of different parts - both open and fast, and narrow and twisty, with trees standing close to the road. That provided an opportunity for drivers with different driving techniques to use different nature of roads to their advantage. But still, the best performance was expected from the SuperProduction crews.

Before the start of the race the main favourites were considered to be the reigning Russian champion Ruslan Misikov from the Nart-Time team, and the winner of 2007 International Cup for Bajas Boris Gadasin, representing the G-Force Motorsport team. However, only titles are not enough when you face such a strong opposition, and you have to prove yourself in real action. That wasn’t a problem for those two, who shared wins on all three stages of the day between them.

On SS1 the leader of Nart Time took his first stage win of the event. He finished 35 seconds ahead of second-placed Alexander Mironenko in a similar car, while third time was set by Alexey Denisov. And while Ruslan’s result was no surprise, Alexander’s and Alexey’s times were quite achievements. For the first one it was his debut behind the wheel of a powerful Nissan, and the latter, moreover, was driving a production-based Patrol of T2 category.

And what about famous international guests, what about Gadasin? They also produced a surprise, but with a negative accent. Miroslav Zapletal from the Czech Republic (by the way, perfectly speaking Russian), couldn’t find the right "key" to the snow and ice surface and finished fourth; and the Italian Giovanni Manfrinato (6th time) was slowed by some minor problems in transmission of his car. For the leader of G-Force Motorsport it was even worse as he pushed too much to break the propshaft of his Nissan at 200 km/h. Fortunately it didn’t lead to any serious accident, but all the power of the car’s new 7-litre engine now transferred only to one axle, and the driver suffered from it until the stage’s end. However, Gadasin made it to the finish with a good for a "front-wheel drive" car result - 8th place overall and 3 minutes 43 seconds gap to the winner. His car was fixed at the service between two passes through the stage and Boris immediately rushed to catch his rivals.

And it did work out! On special stage 3 he took 3 minutes out of Ruslan Misikov’s advantage at once! It’s accidentally that we’re mentioning this fact, because on one of the numerous straights Ruslan reached the maximum speed of 229,83 km/h! But how much faster in corners Boris must have been if he managed to beat his rival by such a margin?!

It didn’t take long for Miroslav Zapletal to raise his game - he was third fastest on SS2 and lost out only to the fighting Russian champions. Alexander Mironenko showed a great result once again by finishing fourth, and he even left behind the experienced crew of Alexey Berkut.

Alexey Denisov, one of the founders of the G-Force Motorsport team, increased his lead in the T2 Group. He was followed by the pair of GeoRaid-RSG cars those of Sergey Savenko and Artem Varentsov.

Giovanni Manfrinato wasn’t really fortunate on that one - he punctured a tyre and had to stop for changing the wheel. To a big disappointment of the Italian it cost him 6 prescious minutes!

It was also this loop where the first retirements happened. Konstantin Zhil’tsov, one of the fastest representatives of the T2 category, stopped on stage due to a broken engine, while Yaroslav Solovjev damaged the radiator and also failed to conclude the stage. Just after the finish the crew under nicknames "Fast" and "Ronin" had to stop as well - the front reduction gear of their Toyota Land Cruiser broke down.

SS3 answered to the question of who would finish Leg 2 as the Baja’s leader. The question was whether Gadasin would be able to catch Misikov or Ruslan can maintain his first position. And Boris did, and Ruslan couldn’t. The furious attack by Gadasin brought him success - he took his second stage win in a row, finished two minutes ahead of his closest competitor and took the lead in the Baja. Other competitors didn’t (or probably couldn’t) interfere this fight. Best among the rest turned out to be Giovanni Manfrinato - the Italian finally made his Megane Proto feel comfortable in the Russian environment, and this allowed him finish 3rd overall - his highest result since the start of the event.

Alexander Mironenko, who partnered Boris Gadasin to his FIA International Cup, concluded the day on a high - another fourth place which brought him to third in the general standings after Leg 2! Alexey Berkut took fifth place, while Alexey Denisov made a hat-trick of stage wins on his day of dominance in the T2 category. Seventh and eigth places were occupied by GeoRaid-RSG representatives Sergey Savenko and Bogdan Novitskiy, while Miroslav Zapletal could only manage tenth. Unfortunately, the Czech’s car had almost run out of fuel by the stage’s finish.

There’s one full day of competition left to run until the Baja’s finish, but nothing is decided yet. Tomorrow crews will tackle the same stage in the opposite direction and will pass it two times. The route will be almost ten kilometers shorter, but it doesn’t mean fewer difficulties for competitors.

Partial Unofficial Classification of Leg 2

01) B.Gadasin/A.Mironenko I Nissan Navara
02) R.Misikov/S.Talantsev I Nissan Navara I +1.26
03) A.Mironenko/A.Nechin I Nissan Navara I +8.43
04) A.Berkut/P.Agris I Mitsubishi Evo I +12.10
05) M.Zapletal/V.Nemajer I Mitsubishi L200 I +13.34
06) A.Denisov/D.Kozhukhov I Nissan Patrol I (1st in T2) +13.34

Partial Unofficial Classification after Leg 2

01) B.Gadasin/A.Mironenko I Nissan Navara
02) R.Misikov/S.Talantsev I Nissan Navara I +1.35
03) A.Mironenko/A.Nechin I Nissan Navara I +9.10
04) A.Berkut/P.Agris I Mitsubishi Evo I +12.56
05) M.Zapletal/V.Nemajer I Mitsubishi L200 I +13.41
06) A.Denisov/D.Kozhukhov I Nissan Patrol I (1st in T2) +13.56

2009/03/02 | 21:22 CET | Editor: MR/HS/Northern Forest

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