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Asia Cross Country PHOTOS: Impressions Asian Rally Thailand-Cambodia (71). | 19.08.2014


Asia Cross Country: Outlander PHEV completes Rally for second straight year. | 19.08.2014


Baja Poland: Baja Poland Ambassador Krzysztof Holowczyc - "I love this rally". | 18.08.2014


Donaldson CC: Horns breathe new life into Production Vehicle Championship. | 18.08.2014


Hungarian Baja: X-raid driver Vladimir Vasilyev consolidates World Cup lead. | 18.08.2014


Hungarian Baja: Fortin - "A terrific result for Al Attiyah and Overdrive Racing". | 18.08.2014


Hungarian Baja: Nasser Al Attiyah overall winner after dramatic fight Saturday. | 18.08.2014













































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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











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Hungarian Baja RESULTS: Final Overall Results Hungarian Baja 2014 CARS | 18.08.2014 13:00 | NEW




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Hungarian Baja: Fortin - "A terrific result for Al Attiyah and Overdrive Racing". | 18.08.2014 12:24 | NEW




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Hungarian Baja PHOTOS: Impressions Friday by Pawel Roslon and Teams (39). | 16.08.2014 17:22 | NEW




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Hungarian Baja: Ruoso, Zanotti and Maré Hungary first winners in the bikes. | 16.08.2014 16:00 | NEW




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Rally dos Sertões: More than 100 car and truck competitors in Brazilian rally. | 14.08.2014 19:40 |




Hungarian Baja VIDEO: Nice impressions of Hungarian Baja 2013 by Rallyheart | 14.08.2014 18:39 |




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SPECIAL: Schwarz and AGM-Jimco X6 SCORE Trophy Truck at Deutschland Rally | 14.08.2014 16:46 |




TORC LB 2014: Stingle wins Round 8 - and wins Limited Buggy Challenge | 14.08.2014 16:27 |




TORC STC 2014: Marquardt continues Podium Streak at RD8 Summer Crandon | 14.08.2014 15:39 |




TORC STC 2014: Super Stock Truck Championship will be decided at Big House | 14.08.2014 15:29 |




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Baja Deutschland VIDEO: Baja Deutschland rally Germany 2014 summary trailer | 13.08.2014 01:33 |




















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