After the dispute from the prologue, Italian Baja continues in Pordenone. Yesterday the pilots had to drove through five special stages totaling 170 kilometers in the treacherous tracks of northern Italy.
Marek Dabrowski was unable to maintain the first position of the standings, Boris Gadasin won the sixth stage and finished the scone day at the top of the table, followed by Yazeed AlRahji who heads the large representation of Toyota in the top positions. Dabrowski was third ahead of the MINI’s ofand Vasiliyev and Kaczmarski.
Quotes after SS6:
Gadasin (arrived to the finish without the front part of the car): „It was too much water at too high speed. We have broken some parts that hold the bonnet. But it was minus twenty kilos and then we could drive even faster. That’s why our result is so good. But I am not only happy for the result but because the car now is really perfect. It’s very comfortable and has a very good balance. I hope for a bright future with it!”
Vladimir Vasilyev: “It was an interesting day, with great battle on the track. On the first two specials we opened the route, starting second on the first and the first on the second special because Al-Rajhi rolled over. So it was very slippery and we could not drive too fast. In the second half of stages it became already easier to go, the covering became better. We had small mistakes therefore we are not satisfied with the results. The start of the last special stage was delayed because of incident with the bike rider. We were waiting more than one hour with our engines switched off. After some time the marshals told that we should start in one and a half minutes therefore we had to start with not heated-up engine, and for our car it was not good. Such feature of MINI. While were warmed and went at full capacity, we wasted time. Tomorrow we will try to return back the lost time and improve our position”.
Zheludov (arrived with broken rear left part): “We don’t know what happened exactly, we were shocked when we got out of the car and learned that the rear left part is broken. We suppose that it must have been a bale of straw which we touched in a corner. But the damage is only optical. There is not enough power in the engine so we work with the engineers to find out how to solve this. I hope tomorrow we can be a little bit faster because we want to fight for the podium.”
Zapletal: “Everything’s OK, it’s our first normal rally with the car, so we are still testing. Now we are happy because our mechanics checked the car and everything was alright, so we really see tomorrow. For today maybe we would have been faster with the old car but this is a completely new project with a diesel engine, and I think that we really need some time to prepare everything. It’s not a car special for sand or for bajas, we meant it to be a universal car. We’ll soon see how it works in the dunes because our next rally will be Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge.”
Kaczmarski: “We had a problem in the first stage after 5 km, the car was burning inside, it was the plug from GPS from organisation. I saw the smoke inside the car but I wasn’t sure exactly what’s this, I was prepared for everything, I had already my finger on the button of fire extinguisher, but fortunately everything was good and we could finish the special. The second special was really fast and the rest of the day was without mistakes, without punctures, without problems inside and outside the car. Generally everything was good. I love it, the organisation is good, the stages are perfect.”
Varela: “It was hard, very fast some jumps, some bumps, we had some problem with water, after the river crossings our car was choking, but it was good. We made second times, third times, so we are trying to push but as we had problem in the morning there’s no way to catch the first three. We try to gain some positions to collect as much points in the World Cup as possible.”
Rómulo Branco: “The specials of this Italian Baja are very similar to the ones of 2013 and 2012. Was the fact of we allready know reasonably well this kind of tracks and also the presence of the top drivers of this sport in this race that made us decide to come here before the start of the Portuguese Championship. Never the less, the diferences to what we were used to drive are huge and force us to be extremly carefull. We are very happy with our progress and adaptation, wich we allready know that must be progressive.”
Dabrowski: “The last special was very nice for me, I was feeling great, I enjoyed driving. On SS4 and SS5 I tried some gears and it was wrong. I hope there will be no rain tomorrow, as I am not experienced in driving in rain, I have to train for that. I prefer dry tracks!”
Yazeed: “Nothing happened to us in the afternoon, now I think we are second. Tomorrow there are four specials, we try to do them well. With the car everything’s OK, I hope we’ll have a lot of rain tomorrow!”