On SS2, the first to start according to yesterday’s choice of starting positions was the crew #201 – Vladimir Vasilyev / Konstantin Zhiltsov. Not surprisingly they were the first to finish the stage. Vladimir Vasilyev: “It was very fast and narrow with lots of turns and series of turns. It’s like left – right, left – right, right, right…”
Starting in the third position with a 6-minute time interval, his dire competition and the fastest driver at baja RUSSIA – Northern Forest 2016 Tapio Lauronen finished only for minutes after Valdimir Vasilyev’s crew. Tapio is rarely seen smiling, and that was one of those rare moments at the finish of SS2. Tapio Lauronen: “A very good surface, it all went smoothly! Khorosho!”
Following the Finns, at the Parc Ferme entrance emerges crew #202 Andrey N. / Vladimir N. with a few stretches of signal tape across the windshield. “Didn’t manage a turn, had to cut it off a bit”
-Can you share your impressions after the shorter SS today?
Andrey Novikov: It was kind of a training session for the longer and harder SS3. After the shorter route we are expecting a bigger one, and then even a bigger one (loughing).The car is going, the wheels are rotating. The co-driver is shouting something at me, everything’s rolling! The road surface is much better than we had expected before the start. No thaw, the road is clear. And there are lots of most interesting turn combinations in the forest – kind of 3d, with elevations and everything. You can easily take off at one of them. The breastworks are so tall, it seems that if you hit one or the other you will just bump off them, but if you drive across, there will be quite a problem to get back on the road by yourself.
The forth to finish was Miroslav Zapletal: “it was pretty dark when the SS started and the visibility was impaired. After 20 or 30 km of SS we didn’t manage a right turn, and the visibility was one of the reasons why. Otherwise, the first leg was superb. Let’s see what the next one brings us. I guess the surface will change to the worse – there have been too many cars there already. And we had miscalculated before the start and poured a bit too much fuel ,so the car was heavier and I had to drive a bit more carefully than I would wish to. But as I was saying, the race will finish on Sunday (smiles).”
The next to arrive to Parc Ferme was the crew Benedictas Vanagas / Bartolomej Boba. The co-driver is admiring the stage’s route, “it’s beautiful, fast, simply wonderful! So far we were not going at full possible speed, the snow surface is still new to us. But we will try to go faster at the next stage. I am impressed at how prompt was the Russian competitor that allowed us to overtake his car during the SS. They had to brake hard to almost full stop, while we were passing them without slowing down at all.”
Right behind Benedictas, crew #205 arrived to Parc Ferme. Andrey Rudnitsky (he was the gentleman driver) sharing his impressions: “It was as always fast and fun! We are getting used bit by bit to the intricacies of a winter race. Going slowly still, but the average speed is anyway pretty high. And you should see how Vanagas is driving! This is something! He overtook us after around 80 kilometers, and was speeding off. I managed to stay “glued” to him, and that, perhaps, helped us to go faster during the rest of the distance. And in general everything is going well, the co-driver is working well, and we are driving in our own pace.”