|Northern Forest: Interviews after the opening Press Conference|
Question to Svetlana Shakhova of the Organizing Comitee: What is new this year? What changes are made to the route, and what is similar to the 2009 edition?
Svetlana Shakhova: It's not a secret for anybody that this year the Baja is run in tight economic conditions, therefore all changes made are closely connected with this fact. We did our best to make the event as convinient for participants as possible. We made it all more compact, decided not to have Ceremonial Start in St-Petersburg which was an additional expense for participants, organized start and finish conviniently in Igora, while the route remained traditional. And the last innovation is that we made the event more friendly to spectators, we moved the Ceremonial Start and Super Special closer to the main race, and now all this is in the same place in Gromovo.
Question to Ruslan Misikov: What were the main difficulties of organization this year? What were the positive points?
Ruslan Misikov: I'd say there were no any special difficulties as the event is run for the 8th time and therefore both logistic and sports matters of the event are quite clear for us. What has been a somewhat problematic part of the work since the moment the Baja became an international event, those are the matters connected with competitors coming from abroad, visas and customs procedures, etc. I'd say, even though we managed to provide a much easier and less complicated passage of the customs, it was still impossible to organize a completely trouble-free channel for our guest participants at the moment, and thus it is our task for the future. Finally, the biggest surpise is the abundant snow this year, such an amount of it is not remembered even by local old residents. Being positive, we can say that this year Baja Northern Forest has prooved its name as never before!
MR: Ruslan, you are also a reigning Russian cross-country champion, so the next question to you is why does not you take part in the Northern Forest this time and in what events we can see you this season?
Ruslan Misikov: Of course, after participating for many years in this event I wasn't happy to skip this time, but we have to understand we are not professional sportsmen, for most of us it's just a hobby. This year I'm overloaded with my business and will not be able to pay enough attention both to sport and business duties, so I made a hard decision to skip this sport season.
Question to Boris Gadasin: Boris, how would you evaluate the organization of the Baja Northern Forest currently and can it be compared to the level of international events you participate in the last years?
Boris Gadasin: Actually, I would say the Russian Baja has grown greatly during these 8 years and, to my opinion, by the organization level it yields to none of the international bajas in which I took part in the last three years. Therefore I believe Russian Baja has a great future nevertheless of the economical crisis.
MR: Two times you won the International Cup, so what now? Do you think about moving to World Cup or preparing for Dakar?
Boris Gadasin: To me, the number of cups is not the main thing. I think, as before, that International Cup is the most professional of cross-country series, so I'm glad I will take part in it again this year. Besides, of course, I'm interested to face new challenges and to meet with top manufacturer teams such as Volkswagen, so maybe we will take part in some of the World Cup rounds
MR: As far as we know your team specializes in preparing cars, so what are the changes in your car compared to the last year?
Boris Gadasin: Yes, that's right, we build our cars ourselves. Last year we built several cars for our clients. As to my car, it has not been modified since the last year, I run the same specification as in 2009. Another our car is driven in this event by Bogdan Novitsky, and it did receive a number of changes. Most of them are rather evolutionary than revolutionary, but nevertheless. For example, we worked on the engine adjustment, and found some new engineering solutions, as a result his torque is now 100 N/m higher than mine.
Question to Ruslan Misikov: Ruslan, as you are not among the entries this year, I'd like to ask what is your forecast, who will win this time?
Ruslan Misikov: Forecasting is a thankless thing... I will bet for my compatriots, especially for St-Petersburg crews, fortunately we have good drivers here.
Question to Svetlana Shakhova: Are there any changes to the Start List after Administrative checks and Scrutineering, and how many competitors are expected to start tomorrow?
Svetlana Shakhova: Well, Scrutineering was closed only 20 minutes ago so we do not have official information yet. I can say about one change now: of 44 entries 42 are expected to start, as two competitors had to cancel due to their business load.
Question to Svetlana Shakhova from the representative of Portuguese media: In Portugal, only one woman works in motorsport organization. So, how did you come to it? Is it difficult or easy to be a woman Clerk of the Course?
Svetlana Shakhova: You are not absolutely right here: I know more than one woman strongly involved in the motorsport events organization, including your national Baja Portalegre. As to your question, there's no any special problem for me to be on this position. I have been working for in motorsport as a referi and then an organizer for considerably long time, so and I am quite comfortable inspite of my gender unusual for Clerk of the Course. Besides, having worked for several years as a team manager with two Russian teams which took part in multiple international competitions I has got a substantial expertise which helps to run our event on a good level.
Question to Svetlana Shakhova: Svetlana, when exactly did you start your activity, as an organizer and a team manager? Do you think it's easier for woman to work with sportsmen as they must be real gentlemen with you?
Svetlana Shakhova: I became involved in motorsport in 1999. First it was rally, then trophy raids ("trophy raid" does not mean the Trophy but traditionally refers to heavy duty off-road series held in Russia), and finally switched to cross-coutry. As to the benefits of being a woman on this position – yes, as everywhere, in the presence of women men tend to be more gentle, and racing drivers are the best gentlemen. And I'm very pleased with it.
2010/02/27 | 11:53 CET | Editor: MR/HS/NF