Cyprus Rally: finish without finish
The Cyprus Rally finished yesterday in Ayia Napa with the victory of the Qatar driver Nasser Al-Attiyah, who won the race ahead of the nearest opponent for more than six minutes!
The Russian crew of Sergei Remennik and Mark Rozin, driving the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X and performing in the class of production cars, perfectly started the racing weekend, winning a couple of special stages of the first section, but further it faced technical problems that led to the retirement and early finish without points.
Sergei Remennik, “There are very positive moments about the race, but of course, there are also negative ones – there is no finish. There were only four kilometers to the final stage finish, and about ten kilometers to the finish of the race, the closed park. It is definitely a negative point. If to speak about the positive moments, we drove almost the entire distance like in the Azores, and we now have the car settings that will come in handy next year. We understand what to expect: it’s one thing when you are told about a specific race and track, but it’s better to drive yourself, see and feel what was being said. The question of the Group N cars settings is really very important, because for these cars the rally is not about speed, but endurance. Who once told us “the Asbest Rally in the Russian Championship is a tough race and you cannot drive in these vehicles”… Guys, come to Cyprus or to the Acropolis Rally and see what a tough race is. Asbest is a highway!” (Laughing).
Initially, estimating the surface, Remennik expected the race would be very similar to the home rally in the town of Asbest, and the crew was largely ready to it. Indeed, at the two recent rallies, in Greece and Cyprus, the car settings for Asbest worked well at first. The Ural crew even won the qualification and two special stages of the first section in the category on the first day of the Cyprus Rally. But as soon as the road began to collapse after the field passage, the used settings ceased to prove themselves. Local drivers, knowing and expecting this, were prepared accordingly – the worse the road became, the faster they drove. At the second day second section, in the middle of the final stage, Sergei Remennik’s Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution started to experience problems with the transmission, but was able to reach the planned service.
The team changed the gearbox within 30 minutes, “fixed” the box in the third gear, and the crew just tried to pass two short special stages – cross the finish line of the race to get points in the European Championship.
Sergei Remennik, “But unfortunately, the car decided it was tired before the special stage finish. I sum up: we do not have points – it’s negative, but a big positive moment is we drove all the distance, saw everything and went quite fast, I think. Now I understand how to drive these two “endurance races” next season, how to prepare a car for it – this is why we are participating this season”.
There is almost a month break ahead and then the FIA European Rally Championship will continue in Poland with another asphalt round in early August.