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Dakar Rally 2015: The real Odyssey before - or how to be at the Start in time. | 29.08.2014


Defender Challenge: Rd 5 of the series by Bowler takes place this weekend. | 29.08.2014


Rally dos Sertões: Honda HRC riders finished first part of the marathon stage. | 29.08.2014


Rally dos Sertões: Top 10 cars mixed after hardest stage - Spinelli still leader. | 28.08.2014


Rally dos Sertões PHOTOS: Impressions from the Marathonrally in Brazil (77). | 28.08.2014


Rally dos Sertões: Two X-Rally NWM Ford Ranger in good 2nd and 4th position. | 28.08.2014


Baja Poland: Poland to welcome 112 competitors in Baja Poland this weekend. | 28.08.2014













































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Northern Forest: Winter-Ice-Baja started with Prologue - G-Force premiere.






By Robb Pritchard You'd be forgiven thinking that rally-raids are about deserts and dust but the FIA World Cup for Cross Country Rallies kicks off here in the snowy forests near St Petersburg, in the aptly named Northern Forest Baja.

Missing from the full calendar for the last two years the popular event is being run as a candidate round with the aim of being restored to its rightful place to the championship in 2014.

Event HQ is at the ski resort of Igora, 60km north of St Petersburg and 43 crews passed through scrutineering to line up in a lightly falling snow for the prologue.

4km of sweeping turns and jumps along a specially ploughed track with thick walls of snow either side was all the teams had to negotiate... but it turned into a nightmare for a couple of the top teams... although thankfully the apocalyptic fireballs were falling out of the sky few thousand kilometres from where we were...

First away was the '0' car, Boris Gadasin in the startling new G-Force. It has an opinion-polarising body-shape but the 8.2l V8 roaring through the trees sounded amazing. Top rookie at this year's Dakar Vladimir Vasiliev was first contender away dancing his older G-Force between the banks and he ended up blitzing the field, a full 6 seconds ahead of ex-WRC star Harri Rovanpera in his Mitsubishi.

"It was very difficult as everything is new for me," said the Finn. "I am used to driving with pace notes but here I need to tackle a road I don't know, with not many details from my co-driver. The last time I drove a rally without reconnaissance was 20 years ago, which is a long time!"

But not everyone got around the course without incident. Ruslan Misikov in his stunning new Nart Time BMW lost over 19 minutes. "There was a sharp turn after a crest and it looked as if it went straight on... and we got stuck on top of a snowbank with the wheels spinning. Of course, I am disappointed, we were pushing for podium."

One vehicle that caught everyone's attention, almost as much as Gadasin's, was a Gaz Elle van, a Russian version of the Transit Van. At first I thought it was running as some kind of joke, but a look at the timesheets shows that driver Alexander Kostrukov is serious. Out of the 43 starters he finished 25th!

Other names in the field include Ilya Kuznetzov, also back from the Dakar, but his Toyota Land Cruiser beached itself on the same snowbank as Misikov. Benjamin Dzeepaev got his hybrid-electric Yoh into 15th and Yuri Borovikov took his Chevrolet Niva to 11th.

Tomorrow the real action starts. Three times round a 100km loop which is a mix of fast, flowing turns over crests and tough, tight forest tracks with rocks lurking in the snowbanks. Spiked tyres are allowed but as Rovanpera is aware, the whole route is blind, crews only have a roadbook marking the junctions and the worst hazards...

2013/02/15 | 20:15 CET | ARTICLE: MR/HS/PRITCHARD











Rally dos Sertões RESULTS: Overall results CARS & TRUCKS SS05 on Thursday | 29.08.2014 03:33 |




Rally dos Sertões RESULTS: Overall results BIKES & QUADS SS05 on Thursday | 29.08.2014 03:24 |




Dakar Rally 2015: The real Odyssey before - or how to be at the Start in time. | 29.08.2014 02:40 |




Defender Challenge VIDEO: Impressions of the series by Bowler Rd 4 Wales | 29.08.2014 01:31 |




Defender Challenge: Rd 5 of the series by Bowler takes place this weekend. | 29.08.2014 01:27 |




Rally dos Sertões: Honda HRC riders finished first part of the marathon stage. | 29.08.2014 00:47 |




Rally dos Sertões VIDEO: Mitsubishi Petrobras Team crews SS04 Wednesday | 28.08.2014 17:10 |




Rally dos Sertões VIDEO: Official no comment rally video of SS04 Wednesday | 28.08.2014 17:08 |




Rally dos Sertões: Top 10 cars mixed after hardest stage - Spinelli still leader. | 28.08.2014 16:33 |




Rally dos Sertões PHOTOS: Impressions from the Marathonrally in Brazil (77). | 28.08.2014 04:57 |




Rally dos Sertões: Two X-Rally NWM Ford Ranger in good 2nd and 4th position. | 28.08.2014 04:48 |




Baja Poland: Poland to welcome 112 competitors in Baja Poland this weekend. | 28.08.2014 02:20 |




Rally dos Sertões RESULTS: Overall results CARS & TRUCKS SS04 Wednesday | 28.08.2014 01:56 |




Rally dos Sertões RESULTS: Overall results BIKES & QUADS SS04 Wednesday | 28.08.2014 00:44 |




Rally dos Sertões: KTM’s Marc Coma hangs on to overall lead in dos Sertoes. | 27.08.2014 23:48 |




Rally dos Sertões: Paulo Gonçalves clinches victory in SS04 - the longest stage. | 27.08.2014 23:32 |




Desafío Inca: German manufacturer battle - X-Raid Mini vs SAM Mercedes CC | 27.08.2014 19:26 |




Rally dos Sertões RESULTS: Overall results CARS & TRUCKS SS03 on Tuesday | 27.08.2014 18:33 |




Rally dos Sertões RESULTS: Overall results BIKES & QUADS SS03 on Tuesday | 27.08.2014 18:29 |




Rally dos Sertões VIDEO: Mitsubishi Petrobras Team crews SS03 on Tuesday | 27.08.2014 17:55 |




Rally dos Sertões: Both Ford Rangers reached top speeds above 175 km/h. | 27.08.2014 17:07 |




Rally dos Sertões VIDEO: Onboard with X-Rally Ford Ranger Baumgart / Cincea | 27.08.2014 16:35 |




Rally dos Sertões: Stagewin for Toyota´s Varela in S3 but Spinelli still leader. | 27.08.2014 16:19 |




Rally dos Sertões: Goncalves - "Hope to ride hard without making mistakes" | 27.08.2014 16:00 |




Rally dos Sertões: Marc Coma wins again in Bikes and remains the leadership. | 27.08.2014 15:35 |




Rally dos Sertões VIDEO: Mitsubishi Petrobras Team crews SS02 on Monday | 26.08.2014 19:14 |




Rally dos Sertões VIDEO: Official no comment rally video of SS02 on Monday | 26.08.2014 18:57 |




Baja Poland: X-raid with four Mini All4 Racing - chase for World Cup continues. | 26.08.2014 17:21 |




Baja Poland: Overdrive Racing with five Toyota Hilux and Nasser Al Attiyah. | 26.08.2014 16:45 |




Rally dos Sertões: Mitsubishi´s Spinelli / Haddad the new leader in the cars. | 26.08.2014 05:17 |




Rally dos Sertões: Gonçalves wins SS2 in Bikes but Coma still overall leader. | 26.08.2014 05:02 |




Rally dos Sertões PHOTOS: Nice impressions from the first days in Brazil (79) | 26.08.2014 04:53 |




Baja Poland VIDEO: Official trailer of the Baja Poland FIA CC World Cup 2014 | 26.08.2014 04:32 |




Donaldson CC: Test of character for the teams at South African Vryburg 450 | 26.08.2014 03:49 |




Rallyraid: Kamaz Master legend Ilgizar Mardeev tragically died in an accident. | 26.08.2014 03:09 |




Rally dos Sertões RESULTS: Overall results CARS & TRUCKS SS02 on Monday | 26.08.2014 02:30 |




Rally dos Sertões RESULTS: Overall results BIKES & QUADS SS02 on Monday | 26.08.2014 01:59 |




Rally dos Sertões VIDEO: Driving onboard with Overdrive Toyota Hilux of Verala | 26.08.2014 01:46 |




Rally dos Sertões: Honda´s Paulo Goncalves wins second stage in the bikes. | 26.08.2014 01:28 |




Rally dos Sertões VIDEO: Official no comment video of SS01 Sunday (crash) | 26.08.2014 00:56 |




















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