Baja Astrakhan: Sergei Remennik makes his debut in cross-country rally
Baja Astrakhan is a new race in the calendar of cross-country rally in Russia; it will start in the Astrakhan region on 12 November, 2020. The event appeared in the calendar of the “classic” rally driver Sergei Remennik by chance. After the pause in his performance on the FIA European Rally Championship tracks behind the wheel of the familiar Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X due to greater involvement in work projects, and then in connection with the start of training under the TRIUM Global Executive MBA program, Remennik did not stop loving motorsports.
He tried to compensate for the inability to plan long weekly trips to participate in the FIA ERC competitions with short trips to the home rounds of the Russian Rally Championship and Cup in order to at least plunge into the unique atmosphere of racing, as well as for the development of the rally series project in Mazda MX5 cars.
Now Remennik Jr. does not let Sergei get bored, when both generations of the family enjoy spending time at the racetracks. After some reflections, Mikhail showed interest in the very first stage of entering the motorsports – karting. Indeed, it was from karting that many eminent drivers from various disciplines began their thorny path into the world of big motorsports.
Sergei Remennik, driver, “We entered the discipline five years ago, but at that time Mikhail was not interested in anything except artistic gymnastics. And then, when we spent considerable time in isolation, he said to me, “Dad, what are you doing there? Motorsports? Well, show me some… it looks like I’m ready”. After that we went to coach Artem Kravchenko for the second time. And today, I’m even afraid to jinx it, Mikhail shows a very great interest and it’s very important – I’m not pushing him, but he drags me there. I ended up in karting only because my son wants to overtake me, and in fact, I will give him such an opportunity. But he will have to work hard to overtake me”.
Karting is a dynamic race with a mass start on the asphalt surface of autodrome, but where did the idea to drive a couple of hundred kilometers off-road come from?
Remennik has no experience in the cross-country rally yet; he does not plan to show dizzying speeds and best times at the stages, but only to get acquainted with the discipline. Baja is ideal for such a purpose, because these are short-term and short-distance cross-country races that usually take place in a compact two-three-day format.
Sergei Remennik, driver, “Two friends, Sergey Karyakin and Aleksey Shmotiev, both successful cross-country racers, prompted me to try this discipline. We often discuss which type of motor racing with the word “rally” in its name is the most interesting and challenging. In order to reasonably argue with them about what is cooler – classic or cross-country rallies, I decided to get my own experience. To talk about it, you have to try it! I admit that I may be interested in this whole discipline, or it may be separate long races. There was no question of the team choice – Sergey Karyakin simply gave me his place. He gave me not only his Can-Am Maverick X3, but also his co-driver, overalls and helmet. All I have to do is listen and follow his instructions”.
Behind the wheel of a T3 ATV with the start number 257, Sergei Remennik will be assisted by the most experienced cross-country co-driver Anton Vlasyuk, who has more than one Dakar behind him and victories at the rounds of the FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Rallies.
Changing disciplines and sports equipment is always difficult for a driver to adapt, because doing one sport for a long time he gets used to its characteristics and a certain level of concentration. The main idea of races for regularity of movement with additional high-speed competition is the same here, but in the classic rallies, unlike cross-country ones, a crew consisting of a driver and a co-driver, moves according to the notes that they have compiled for themselves, which describe all the corners and difficult moments on the track, and the length of one special stage rarely exceeds 30 kilometers. And in the cross-country rallies, the co-driver has a road book with a route of movement, navigation devices for moving in courses and a device for automatically taking control points. All movement along the tracks takes place “by eye” – the driver is free to choose convenient paths for travel, but within the framework of the organizer’s instructions and with control of the pass along the track using GPS tracking, so as not to accidentally “cut” part of the required kilometers of the competitive distance. Yes, the length of the special stages in this discipline only starts from a mark of one hundred kilometers from start to finish.
The Baja Astrakhan total distance is about 650 kilometers, about 450 of them are the special stages located in the semi-desert and salt marshes zones of Narimanovsk, Enotaevsk, Krasnoyarsk, and Kharabalinsk districts of the Astrakhan region. On the first day, the participants will encounter the sands of the famous Krasnopeschany (Red Sand) and Bolshoy Brat (Big Brother) dunes. And the second day will add difficulties of a different kind – the mechanics will not be able to help the racers; the crews will cover the entire distance without the usual maintenance in the service park. On Thursday, 12 November, the crews are expected for the pre-start procedures, and on Friday the first leg of the race starts. The prize-giving ceremony for the baja winners will take place on Saturday, after the second leg finish.
Friday, 13 November – the first leg start, it includes a liaison of about 74 km, a distance of SS-1 of about 238 km, and a liaison of about 72 km. Night service park.
Saturday, 14 November – the second leg start, it includes a liaison of about 26 km, a distance of SS-2 of about 214 km, and a liaison of about 26 km. Final scrutineering, the race results publication and prize-giving.