|Rally dos Sertões: Two X-Rally NWM Ford Ranger in good 2nd and 4th position.|
Many kilometers of sandy roads made teams and drivers work on tyre strategy for the fifth stage of Brazil´s "Rally dos Sertões", with a total of 585,3 kilometers between Paracatu and São Francisco, where the NWM / X-Rally Team duos made a bet on the power of the Ford Ranger 5-litre V8 to make the difference on the long straights in the way.
However, the quantity of sand in some stretches held both of the Baumgart brothers´ Ford Ranger 4x4, giving room to Reinaldo Varela / Gustavo Gugelmin (Overdrive Toyota Hilux) win with Guilherme Spinelli / Youssef Haddad (Mitsubishi ASX) 27 seconds behind.
Cristian and Marcos Baumgarts gamble was that the good top speeds the Ford Ranger 4x4 reaches in the straights would have compensated the lack of grip in some spots - and the stage had some of them. But the heavy sand sectors made the specific tyres chosen by Varela and Spinelli work better to open a gap from the yellow Vedacit cars.
Cristian Baumgart / Beco Andreotti came third, 2:42 minutes off Varela. Marcos Baumgart felt the lack of grip even more in some moments of the race, which reflected in his and co-driver Kleber Cincea fourth place, dropping 8:26 mins down, but still in fourth position overall.
"It wasn´t sand the whole stage, but it made a huge difference," said Christian Baumgart. "We were more conservative in terms of tyre strategy, and it cost us some minutes We had an excellent car in hands, and we reached the cars in front several times when the surface was harder, but then we´d find sand in the way once more, holding us back again."
Marcos Baumgart said: "It was a fun stage to drive, but we had little or no grip at some points, and that jeopardized our pace today. There´s still a little bit for me to reach the limit of the car, and I am working on it, step by step. In a rally like the Sertões, you don´t want to rush things up - it always charge its price, and it´s not cheap."
During the night, the NWM / X-Rally Team mechanics and engineers work on both cars looking forward to the marathon-stage on Thursday, which will be the longest day of the 2014 Rally dos Sertões, with 718 kilometers, of which 336 kms worth the stage. After the cars stop at parc-fermé, only drivers and co-drivers are allowed to work on the cars. Any team assistance is forbidden whatsoever.
2014/08/28 | 04:45 CET | ARTICLE: MR/HS/BERNUCI