Baja “Russia – Northern Forest” has finished today in the Republic of Karelia, where the Qatari driver Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah became the runaway winner.
This year the three-day race on the snow-ice surface did not leave any driver indifferent and every finished crew gave positive feedback and thanked the organizers.
This year, the weather did everything to ensure that the race would be at an excellent level – the frost and the large amount of snow that fell in the last month, allowed to prepare the perfect track.
The frozen ground and densely rolled snow were not worn down even by the multi-ton KAMAZ that acted as an “opening” safety car, checking the track before the first participant start.
Each racing day is rich for events and emotions, and the final day of the rally put in places all those people who arrived to the Karelian forests to feel the speed and drive of the only snow-ice round of the FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Rallies.
The second 229-kilometer competitive day consisted of two special stages that racers studied yesterday – today they have passed them in the opposite direction.
Tapio Lauronen, who was in the third position in the half way classification of the first two days, dropped out of the fight at SS-4 for a technical reason – the driveshaft breakdown cannot be repaired in the course of the special stage.
As for the rest, the final day passed without any adventures.
In T2 standings the podium became international. The first place was secured by the Russian crew of Alexey Titov and Andrey Rusov; guys have confirmed the previously won title of Russian Champions in these standings. The second and third positions were divided between the crews from Portugal and Qatar – Bruno Oliveira / Paulo Marques and Adel Hussain Abdulla / Nasser Al-Kuwari.
This year the T3 standings entry list was longer that the last one, although the participants have much inconveniences during the race, because these small cars in the normal configuration do not provide for windows and heating.
Claude Fournier, this year’s DAKAR bronze medalist in SSV class, took with him the experienced Szymon Gospodarczyk – the owner of the FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Rallies in 2016 in T3 category. Szymoncomes to Russia for the third time and his knowledge and experience have their effect – victory over the Russian competitors came easier than last season.
Nasser Al-Attiyah and Mathieu Baumel in Toyota Hilux Overdrive won the first round of the FIA World Cup. Their rich experience of victories in world competitions and performances at the winter races in the World Rally Championship (WRC), as well as the leading position after the second day, left not much chance of winning to opponents.
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