Highlights of the “Rally Liepaja 2019” with our crew! Shooting – “Eurosport Events”; video production – “Ko&Bu Production”.
Highlights of the “Rally Liepaja 2019” with our crew! Shooting – “Eurosport Events”; video production – “Ko&Bu Production”.
The third round of the FIA European Rally Championship has moved from the hot climate to the cool Baltic coast. The Rally Liepaja changed its place in the series calendar – late spring instead of the traditional autumn event; however, the temperature and precipitation turned out to be almost usual.
In contrast to the two island rounds, the number of registered participants in the ERC2 standings has increased – there are nine of them. Russians Sergei Remennik and Marina Danilova continue European performances in the usual production Mitsubishi Lancer. At the start the state of play among the participants in the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X to those who chose Abarth 124 Rally was 6:3. Let us recall that now the RGT cars are also eligible for scoring points in the updated ERC2 category, and in addition participate in the Abarth Rally Cup.
Sergei Remennik, driver,: “I like the Baltic races very much and I’m glad to return to Latvia. I’m also pleased with the class entry list – it’s cool there are guys, who will drive very fast! At the same time, we will finally be able to evaluate how the Abarth 124 Rally will feel on the gravel surface, for example, in the hands of European rally-cross champion Reinis Nitišs. Last ERC round showed that these cars can go “into space” on the asphalt”.
Of course, it was not worth to dismiss the fastest Baltic rally school representatives – Ralfs Sirmacis and Vytautas Švedas, as well as Dmitry Feofanov, who has assimilated on local tracks so much that he now acts as a Latvian sportsman.
Remennik’s plan for this rally weekend was simple: check the newly assembled car at the test session and tune in to high competition in order to score the maximum possible amount of points, because the beginning of the season was “not fruitful” for the crew. However, it wasn’t possible to tune in to the upcoming rally – in one of the test days the turbine in the Mitsubishi Lancer failed, and by some reason the similar unit was not included in the set of spare parts taken to the race by the team.
The organizers included in the rally route the roads used in two regions for the national championship eponymous races – around Liepaja and Talsi. After one and a half days or 20 hours of recce and the ceremonial start the crews were finally able to start what they came to Latvia for. The Saturday special stages were a very interesting version of the route – none of them was repeated completely, only general sections of various roads were used, and the starting and finishing points were located in new places every time. Co-driver Marina Danilova had to work carefully during the pacenotes recording, tracking the joints of different sections of the route, of which the special stages consisted; and given the length of the first day’s distance of more than a hundred kilometers, it was really a very difficult task.
It is sad, but the rally in Latvia ended prematurely for Sergei Remennik. “What was it?” you ask. At the third, the longest special stage of the day, Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X made a coup, catching a bump with the rear wheel in a slow turn at a decreasing speed. The spectators, who came to the rescue quickly, turned the car to the wheels and Sergei and Marina even managed to drive a couple of kilometers, but then they had to stop completely and eliminate the fire; and then they just stayed in place, waiting for the evacuation of the car by a team of technicians. Despite the seemingly light incident, the car received a lot of damage in the engine compartment from open burning and it needed serious repairs to go the next day using the rally2 system. The mechanics admitted that the damage could be restored, but it required more time than one night until the next morning.
Sergei Remennik, driver,: “In fact we did the same thing as Oliver Solberg, but the lighter R5 car had enough speed and inertia to drive out. Marina and I analyzed the incident and checked the records – there was a mistake in the pacenotes. I misjudged the road I saw – we had this right turn recorded as “long” with variable gradation (at the end it twisted a little) and going into this turn, I “stretched” it, so I was at the outer wayside.
Nevertheless, on the gravel the Abarth 124 Rally cars turned out to be not as fast as they were on the asphalt surface; and they do not reach the pace of driving in N4 category cars. But at this race there were nine participants in our class – it’s great, I wish it would always be like that! Marina and I were enthusiastically waiting for this race, but, unfortunately, it turned out like that.
One thing pleases me: according to the reviews, it’s great that I listen to the co-driver and drive along the pacenotes. Of course, this is a plus, but we didn’t reach the finish line. At the first special stages we got used to the conditions and watched how the other participants would go, what their speed would be; our pace, shown during the first kilometers, was enough to fight for a place on the podium and get points. Of course, Ralfs Sirmacis is much faster than everyone, but we had the opportunity to compete with the others”.
After the last three rounds there is an interesting situation in the intermediate ERC2 classification: the first two positions are occupied by Juan Carlos Alonso and Zelindo Melegari in N4 group cars, and the third place was taken by Andrea Nucita in the RGT-group vehicle.
Sergei Remennik and Marina Danilova will go to the next FIA European Rally Championship round that will be held from 28 to 30 June in Poland – PZM Rally Poland will pass along the roads near the city of Mikolajki, famous for the fact that they were used for the FIA World Rally Championship stages.
This weekend, 24-26 May, the FIA celebrates volunteers days in motor sport and they fall on the Rally Liepaja days.
Volunteers are invisible people, spending most of their personal time so that we can race. The FIA recognizes this important contribution and thanks the volunteers for their hard work and dedication to the competitions safety.
Most often spectators and fans can see volunteers at races, when they work as security marshals at the special stages (the very people in bright vests with whistles, reporting that the race car is approaching); during the technical inspection, helping to mark the units or inspect the equipment of drivers; or working in parc ferme, helping crews to navigate or gently move out of a small enclosed area.
We also want to express our gratitude to these wonderful people,who love motor sports so much that they are ready to spend time at competitions in the conditions of the scorching sun, dust or in cold winter days – thank you!
This man was spotted at the Rally Liepaja service park at work.
Link to FIA website
Rally Islas Canarias 2019 was the second round of the FIA European Rally Championship. Gran Canaria, one of the three largest islands in terms of both area and height of the Canary archipelago, hosted 65 FIA ERC participants from 2 to 4 May.
Sergei Remennik planned to continue his performance in the ERC-2 standings in the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X. At the current event the Abarth Rally Cup competitors joined the production cars; now the R4-K and RGT vehicles can also score points in the updated ERC-2 category. The Abarth Cup will be held at six of eight series rounds included in the current year calendar.
This entry started the news about the Russian crew participation in the Rally Islas Canarias that was prepared for publication before it became clear that the car, damaged after the run-off at the test special stage, could not be restored fast on the eve of that rally start. Why has it happened? After the emotions have gone and there is a little less than a week before the new FIA European Rally Championship round, we can recall what has happened without vivid epithets. Let us give the floor to Sergei Remennik, the crew driver; he will tell how that rally week events took shape.
Sergei Remennik, driver, “I think the upcoming battle would have been interesting, since there are three classes of cars in the same category. This is a positive moment if to speak about the field filling. Before the rally start it was hard to imagine how it would look in the results table, because on gravel production four-wheel drive cars are definitely faster than Abarth and Porsche 911 with rear-wheel drives, but I think at fast asphalt races there would be nothing to “catch” next to these nimble cars. There is not a large number of R4 category vehicles, and it is difficult to assume how many of them will appear at the rallies during the season. But when everyone gathers, it will be possible to compare.
I arrived at the Canary Islands in advance to acclimatize and practice a little bit in making notes at the local roads that were not included into the rally route. Before the rally I spent three days with Alexey Lukyanuk training in the Baltics. There were some interesting asphalt sections and we had a very productive time.
I’ve already “tasted” asphalt races, I had my first experience in it just on the Canary Islands – I really liked it. To drive fast on the asphalt is not so spectacular for the fans, but inside the car it’s a very specific thing. It’s an interesting experience and understanding how to turn to the right angle in order not to overheat the tyres of the front axle, because Lancer is quite a heavy car compared to the R5 or the prototype. And when the asphalt road is narrow, my Production car is really not so convenient to drive. Now I like the asphalt races and I was looking forward to the event start.
Unfortunately, a day before the departure there was a replacement in the crew: Mark Rozin was not able to take part in the rally because he got sick (yes, it happens). At night an urgent question about a co-driver was decided. There were several options: first of all, Marina Danilova, but she was involved in her main crew at this period – the rally in Russia took place on the same dates as ours. Several other candidates were considered, but either the co-drivers didn’t have an international license, or they were busy. So “heavy artillery” went into action – Oleg Krylov, the crew manager.
Beside the fact that we have a long-standing cooperation in the Baltic States and Europe, Oleg is an experienced co-driver. He had already read me the notes many times, although it happened regularly when Mark corrected something in his notebooks, and we checked with the video what had already been written. Oleg and I have never driven together and this was an adventure, it could have been fun. The team and the car were in place; we couldn’t cancel participation in the race last moment, when we have already incurred so many costs… In any case we were going to take part in the rally, and we wanted to show the best possible result in that situation, but we only demonstrated, that we were enough “lucky”.
We went to a test session scheduled by the organizers before the rally start; the speed section was new for everyone and turned out to be a rather narrow mountain road. And the most sudden for us was littered asphalt surface in those places where we didn’t expect it. The Spanish race has a very clean asphalt and we didn’t even think that we could get on a dirty surface. We were not ready for it, because usually the roads on the island are very clean and even. So much that they “forgive” small mistakes – even if you just slip out of the trajectory, you slide a little bit, then the car catches the surface and go in the right direction again. You can stretch the trajectories; in general, the rally is a pure pleasure, like a circuit race, just across the mountains.
But the test section this year was such that in places there were only trajectories that were rolled out and scattered by wheels, like ruts. It’s not clear, why there was so much dirt on the track. It was obviously, where it was possible to “cut” in corners, but where we slipped, this dirt seemed to come from nowhere. Nevertheless, it happened like that: we drove a little bit earlier into the turn and came out a little wider; it was a matter of several tens of centimeters, the rear right wheel fell on dirt or sand, and the car immediately lost its grip. It began to slide and thus drove to the cliff, got hit by the front right part; we flew up because of this, made a half-turn in the air and stayed hanging on the guard rail by some miracle. And literally in the next turn Catie Munnings’s car ran-off and fell from the bridge, and the Hyundai of Jose Suarez fell on top of it. They were lucky with their cars that were not so seriously damaged, but our “Lancer” will be ready only for the next rally in Latvia – the front end has been significantly warped. We tried to find any car for rent for a race on the islands, but without success.
Frankly speaking, it was not easy to pull myself together and go for a recce, the mood was such: I wanted nothing at all. But Oleg and I drove both days of recce, made the pacenotes, compared it with the records of Alexey Lukyanuk in order to evaluate our expectations from the route and reality. We didn’t have enough experience in the incident at the test special stage and it’s a pity that we couldn’t drive such a great race. I would say this is one of my favorite asphalt rallies. Because here you can drive fast, the roads are wide enough in some places, the grip is excellent – all the components to enjoy driving on asphalt.
I would also like to thank all the fans and rally amateurs who wrote me or expressed words of support in person! The most amazing thing is that when we went to the special stages to “escort” Lukyanuk and Arnautov, people recognized me there and said, “Do not be discouraged, and thank you for coming to us”. Residents of the Canary Islands, you really love the rally, and thank you for your support and your positive attitude!”
Highlights of the “Azores Rallye 2019” with our crew!
The first round of the FIA European Rally Championship – the 54th Azores Rallye – finished on Saturday on the islands lost in the Atlantic, where the Russian Performance Motorsport team crew of Sergei Remennik and Marina Danilova took part.
The rally ended with a victory of the Argentine driver Juan-Carlos Alonso in the ERC-2 standings, who began his campaign for the new season with a second victory in a row at the Azores Rallye.
The rally lasted for two and a half days – the one full day competitive distance was divided into Thursday and Friday. On Thursday 24.38 km of special stages were offered to the racers to warm up, on Friday there were seven special stages with a total length of 91.55 km, and Saturday completed the rally program with another five SSs with a total length of 108 km. In three days the racers overcame 15 special stages and 223.93 km of competitive distance.
The first special stages of the rally on Thursday showed that Alonso and Remennik were excellent sparring partners; this pair of crews exchanged shots for a few tenths of seconds and changed each other as leader of the standings. Luis Pimentel, who also had to take part in the rally, was not allowed to start by the technical commissioners due to problems with the fuel tank in his Subaru Impreza.
On Friday the fight promised to be acute, because the crews at the start were divided by only 0.3 seconds. But at the first section of the day Juan-Carlos Alonso had technical problems and tyre punctures, and in the evening it was the turn of Remennik to deal with troubles. Unfortunately, the day ended ahead of schedule for him simultaneously with the refusal of the vehicle to start at the “SSS Marquez” special stage. The engine of his Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X refused to run in front of the paired race start line, and the reason of it became clear much later in the service park. A blown fuse caused troubles with an electric system, and the crew did not understand what had happened, because they had never encountered such a car’s behavior in their practice.
After Sergei Remennik received a penalty, returning to the race according to the Rally2 rules, Alonso kept a comfortable advantage at five Saturday special stages, but won only the SS “Tronqueira” that completed the rally, while Remennik was faster at all the other special stages. The weather conditions caused additional difficulties on Saturday – there were rain, fog, wind and sun simultaneously or in different combinations. The average speeds of overcoming the special stages and the pace of driving decreased, and the gravel sections of the route turned into a raid range with large ruts, sharp stones and liquid mud.
Sergey Remennik, driver, “Almost everything that could happen this weekend with our car, in principle, happened. It all started really cool – we won both the qualification and the first day from Alonso, giving him a victory at one special stage. I was expecting an interesting fight with him, but it turned out to be a struggle with a car and a competition who could even reach the finish line – we both had problems. And this stupid situation with an electric system, because of which the car didn’t start on Friday night; and we didn’t know where to look, because we hadn’t encountered this before… That is, we still had 40 seconds left before the “SSS Marquez” start, and that was enough! Punched tyres are complete nonsense, we slightly crushed the hood – it doesn’t affect the speed at all; while the car is driving, the time is not lost, but then it didn’t want to start. Hi to penalty minutes and restart the next day. On Saturday Alonso gave us a day because he was in no hurry.
Yes, at the last special stage we set the speed antirecords, because the transmission began to fall apart. Deep ruts with stones were eroded – the car received a lot of blows; plus the special stages started from asphalt, where the wheels grip a stronger, and then you slide onto gravel, where the load is slightly lower. Transmission received a lot of blows and that’s all”.
Marina Danilova, co-driver, “The Saturday morning section didn’t frighten us, I can’t say that there was a lot of fog. It was in places, but it didn’t prevent reading the notes and understanding how you move along the track – you still feel the turns with your body, so the reduced visibility didn’t bother. This is my second joint participation with Sergei, I liked the race. The negative point is that we had so much troubles; it seems their amount should be enough for the season – the tyres, the electric system, the transmission – everything. Part of the troubles could have been avoided, for example, a blow; and the problem with the power steering was its consequence. Well, punched tyres are a coincidence, we watched the onboard. In general I liked the rally, I didn’t like the rain, but the rally was good!”
The first racing step of the season was troublesome, but the crew received points for the second place at the end of the event and is looking forward to the next round of the FIA European Championship. A break of a little more than a month comes, and the Rally Islas Canarias will be held from 2 to 4 May.
The first full day at the Azores Rallye has come to an end – Aleksey Lukyanuk and Aleksey Arnautov are keeping the lead in the overall race standings. Driving a new car, Lukyanuk combines the process of studying it with the ability to score points in the new season.
As for the Russians, taking part in the Production standings of the Azores Rallye, this day was not as positive as the previous one for Sergei Remennik and Marina Danilova. Having completed Thursday as the ERC-2 leader, today Remennik have had to cede leadership to Juan-Carlos Alonso.
The day turned out to be nervous for the Argentinian, and it even seemed that everything was lost: having punctured a tyre at the first special stage of the day and hit the car on the road fence, he lost half a minute about the result of Sergei Remennik. Then the gap increased to seven minutes – this was facilitated by another wheel puncture, at the same time the grip did not sustain and a problem with the drive shaft was discovered.
But friends and rivals on the race track divided the troubles equally – in the second half of the day it was the Russian’s turn. The broken powersteering on SS7 cost Remennik over a minute and was only a sign of more troubles to come. Just a few hundred meters after the start of the second passage of the 24.17 km “Sete Cidades” stage the wheel of the Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X picking up a puncture, and then the second puncture reducing what had been a gap of over seven minutes at midday service down to just 43.0 seconds before the final special stage.
Sergey Remennik, driver, “The day started very well, even my overly optimistic ride on the finish kilometers of the special stage on the volcano couldn’t spoil it. There was a fairly simple and wide turn, where the car slid to the shaft and hit with the rear part, and there was a wall about two meters high, we stuck into it. We were thrown back to the road in the right direction; we drove on, just slowed down a bit. During the day service mechanics repaired this damage.
And in the second half of the day everything went wrong slowly. First, the booster “disappeared” (we found the cause, tightened the connection and refilled the fluid – it started to work), then we punctured the wheel and changed it; after that we did it once again… Everything could have been fine, we had 40 seconds of advantage over Alonso before the final special stage, but… before the super special stage start I turned the key in the ignition lock and nothing happened, although the battery was working, and the lights were on”.
On Saturday the crew will take the opportunity to start with the rally2 system, getting the penalty time for the missed special stage to their result.
Tomorrow the crews will be offered five special stages, but the length of each is impressive: two dozen kilometers at once along the winding roads of a tropical island will force each driver to summon his concentration and attention to the maximum.
Yesterday, the first competition day of the 2019 FIA European Rally Championship has started in the Azores.
Thursday morning began with a qualification that was preceded by two training passes. Further, in the second half of the day, the drivers tackled three special stages – two of them were typical island routes, laid along winding roads in the countryside and framed with volcanic tuff fences. Such a typical road fence and building material are characteristic only of the Azores rally, because all the islands of the archipelago are of volcanic origin. The short special stage of the paired race, traditionally gathering a huge number of spectators, completed the route of Thursday. The place to watch is ideal – the track is located in a career and is visible from any top point, that is why this special stage finishes the first day of the rally and tomorrow the drivers will show the art of driving and the struggle will only add fervor.
An incredible battle ensued over honours in ERC2, with Sergei Remennik leading Juan Carlos Alonso by a mere 0.3s. They swapped places on each stage, Alonso taking the lead away from Remennik on SS2 only to lose it again on SS3.
Sergei Remennik, driver, “It was cool! Let me explain: it doesn’t matter how many participants are around you – ten or one Alonso, in any case there are always one or two real rivals. We drive with him, we exchange impressions after each special stage, we rejoice; and have you seen the parallel race? I won three tenths from him! Today is such a “warm-up” day: after the first special stage we were the leaders, at the second one Juan Carlos won back, at the third – we were ahead a little bit. The first section of the rally has passed and we win only 0:00.4 minutes. Tomorrow morning we will go to the start of the second day and as if this was nothing, everything is all over again – that’s cool! Emotions overwhelm me precisely from this rivalry, and of course we both would like to win”.
Marina Danilova, co-driver, “It’s good to return to the “big” rally after the Russian Championship – there’s a lot of interesting things, especially when viewed from the organizer’s point. For example, yesterday’s city show – it’s interesting because the result is not scored, but participation in it is mandatory. I think this is correct, otherwise how can you show the racers to the spectators (and how else can you motivate them to drive)? Russian rallies are understandable: you have already driven them at least 25 times and you know not only all the special stages, but also the liaisons. But here it’s different, you need to track all the roads in order not to go somewhere wrong. The special stages for the co-driver haven’t been complicated today; there will be a lot of reading tomorrow”.
What’s next: Friday’s action features seven stages over 91.55 kilometres including two runs of the iconic Sete Cidades volcano stage with Pico da Pedra is up first from 09h53. Both Sete Cidades stages, plus the SSS Marques, will be broadcast live on RTP Açores and the ERC’s official website and Facebook page.
The first round of the FIA European Rally Championship – the Azores Rallye – will be held on 21-23 March. It is the 54th edition of the Portuguese race – not so many European Championship rounds can boast such a long history. The rally takes place on the island of San Miguel – the largest one in the Azores archipelago.
The Azores is an original nature reserve created many thousands years ago. The Atlantic coast, the tropical climate, the lakes in the craters of extinct volcanoes, the natural parks, as well as fast gravel tracks that have an amazing three-dimensional configuration – this is one of the most beautiful races of the season.
At this race Russia will be represented by three crews, one in each racing category: Dmitry Myachin and Alexander Gorlanov will start in Peugeot 208 R2; Sergey Remennik and Marina Danilova will represent the Production car class and compete for points in Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution for the Russian Performance Motorsport team; the current European Champions Alexey Lukyanuk and Alexey Arnautov will fight for the season title and for the points in the overall standings. Lukyanuk and Arnautov have changed the team and the car this year, and in the Azores they will have a new challenge – guys will spend the race in the Citroen C3 R5, prepared by the SainteLoc Racing team together with Citroen Racing. This year the Russians will have a new car and they will have to get used to new tyres: there will be tyres from Michelin instead of the usual Pirelli.
Alexey Lukyanuk, Citroen C3 R5 driver,: “We were looking forward to the first kilometers in the new car and with the new team. Although the team and the car are unknown, the race is familiar and the co-driver is the same. This is our fourth time here at the Azores; the organizers have changed the track a little this year, adding a couple of new special stages, and also shortened or lengthened the old ones. Today we’ve had gravel tests, talked to an engineer, got acquainted with a new car. However we couldn’t go through the test plan fully, because the spare parts ran out – the shock absorber tank mount cracked from the bottom, the spare parts would arrive only tomorrow, and during that time we managed to drive about 30-40 kilometers. I like the car; of course, there are differences from the Ford I used to, but there are a lot of pleasant things, a very light steering wheel, different pedals, an engine that allows you to drive at lower revs, very convenient gearbox and handbrake levers. Well, in general, it’s just a new car in every sense! Feelings are good, but only the race will show us what we can do together with Citroen”.
Sergey Remennik, Mitsubishi Lancer Evo driver, “In general, the plan for 2019 season is as follows: we have a budget for four rounds; we will drive these first races; we will see how the new “united” class is going, how competitive we are among the participants and, having assessed our chances, we will decide on the second half of the season. It will be the third visit to the Azores Rallye for me, and I temporary change the co-driver. As it once happened, Mark is busy on the main work and will not be able to distract for the racing week. I decided that I would continue cooperation with Marina Danilova. I’m very glad that she confirmed her participation and we will go in the same crew, because she is a high-class professionall!
Yes, this year we will not be able to participate in a single Russian team because the crew of Alexey Lukyanuk will be a French team member. We are pleased that his talent was finally appreciated and supported. Our friend is a fast and cool guy; he will be able to continue to participate in the European rallies in a new vehicle! I wonder how the struggle for the overall standings will develop this year. We will support Alexey Lukyanuk and Alexey Arnautov every possible way and wish them to confirm the title of the fastest guys in Europe”.
59 crews will start at the island race, 19 of them are of top R5 class. The rally will be held in a two-day format on Friday and Saturday, but viewers will be able to see the cars in action as early as on Wednesday – a short special stage will take place on the streets of Ponte Delgada as a show program. Traditionally, this part of the event takes place in the evening and gathers a huge number of spectators; and those who are too lazy to go outside can watch a rally show in live broadcast – jumps, turns, retarders will be shown from all sides!
In the nearest future the participants will tackle 15 special stages with a total length of 223 competitive kilometers, 91% of them passing along gravel, and 472 kilometers of the total rally distance. Well, on Tuesday and Wednesday the crews will drive the ordinary cars, because they will have a recce at each special stage of the rally and will make the notes – the main document of the race for each co-driver and driver.
Sergei Remennik and Mark Rozin, who became the European Rally Championship regular participants, started last weekend at the fifth round of the Russian Cup – the “Malachite 2019” rally. The Ural crew in Ford Fiesta Proto declared their ambitions from the very first kilometers of the race.
Having started, the crew began to understand the specifics of driving a completely new and unfamiliar car of the Prototype class that is significantly different from the usual Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X that guys used for a lot of races in national championships and several seasons in the FIA European Championship.
It should be noted that the Prototypes are allowed to participate only in the overall standings of the Russian Rally Championship, where drivers can score points; at the Russian Cup events the crew in such a car does not get any points – they can participate in the rally along with the rest of the drivers, not interfering in the fight for the series title.
In the Baltic countries Prototypes are also scored in the overall standings on a par with R5 cars and WRC cars (iterations of different years, prepared according to technical requirements for participation in the world championship).
Sergei and Mark finished the first day of the race with an advantage of 14.6 seconds over their closest rival Denis Rostilov (only at the first special stage they won 27.4 seconds from him), but during the four special stages of the second racing day the situation has changed – Denis Rostilov celebrated a victory, and Sergei Remennik became the runner-up with a 2.2 second lag! On the first day this pair of rivals broke away from the closest pursuer Igor Smirnov for 1:11.2 minutes, and on the second day increased this gap to 2:03.2 minutes at the finish of the rally!
Prior to the start of the rally Sergei had several test kilometers to deal with the character of the new car and understand what changes should be made to his usual style of driving in order to use the opportunities offered by a lighter and nimbler car more effectively. But the main study of the car capabilities fell on the “testing ground” of the Chelyabinsk rally special stages.
Sergey Remennik, driver, “On the first day of the rally it was interesting and fast – wide roads for maximum speed with jumps. On the second day it seemed to be slower, but it wasn’t. The second day tracks were slightly looser, narrower than the day before, with many places where acceleration-braking took place. We seemed to get used to the car, but you won’t try everything and take unnecessary risks during the race. In the course of the rally we tried to understand the
pace, and how we can go to maintain the advantage. At the finishes of special stages it was reflected in peculiar duels between Denis and me – we won them by turns.
When Denis and I were talking a week before the rally, he told me that he would participate in it. “You don’t want an easy race,” he said. And I’m very grateful to him because it was very interesting to drive! I think the facts that Denis Rostilov was driving here and that we brought the Prototype to this race should be interesting for the local audience. It is clear that Rostilov and I are competing with ourselves more, and I drove out of the standings and didn’t bother anyone to fight for the Russian Cup points.
We still need to work with the notes – to record it accurately and read on time. Of course, four months break makes itself felt, it is rather difficult for everything to happen perfectly. I didn’t want to disgrace myself. Aleksey Lukyanuk helped me on the first day of the recce – we slightly “corrected” my visual estimation and discussed how this car can behave on the track at certain moments, roughly speaking, how easily you can make the notes. And on the second day we were recording the track only with Mark, remembering the coach’s recent advice.
Of course, this rally turned out to be an equation of several unknowns raised to a power by our long break in races. But the car forgives a lot of driving mistakes and aggressive riding by non-optimal trajectories. It is much easier and more nimble. If you didn’t get into a turn in the Lancer, you will slide longer and wait until the car extinguishes the speed. In the Fiesta the same thing happens several times faster, and the suspension with its travels just “eats up” all the pits – it is incredibly cool! It’s a very interesting vehicle! It seems that I got caught up with this “forgiveness” of mistakes when I ran-off into a snowdrift at the final special stage and lost 20 seconds there (laughing)”.
At this point every rally fan asks the question, “What’s next?” We confidently say that the story with Prototype will continue! But not in the closest sporting plans. After all, the new season in the FIA European Rally Championship starts very soon – the 54th Azores Rally will open the European performances program for the crew of Sergei Remennik and Mark Rozin on 21-23 March.
The motto of the European rally is, “Got talent? Prove it!”