Nothern Forest 2009 : Finish
The first day of spring became decisive for the participants of the “Saint-Petersburg – Northern Forest” Baja 2009, as it was on Sunday stages that they had to cover about 2/5 of the competitive distance. No wonder that Leg 3 saw some big changes
in categories standings.
The leaders of Day 2 applied the same tactics for today, but it was caused by different reasons. For Boris Gadasin it was necessary to preserve the propshaft he borrowed from his arch-rival Ruslan Misikov who in his turn had no desire to push too much if he was going to take important points for the championship. But even despite such a “cautious” approach both drivers once again beat their opposition. The leader of G-Force Motorsport was fastest on two runs through the stage, while the founder of Nart-Time once finished second and took third time on the final pass.
In contrast to the two dominant drivers, other crews swept places throughout the whole day. The two-times winner of “Northern Forest” Aleksey Berkut went off the road on SS5. The engine of his Mitsubishi stalled at 140 km/h, the car slipped from the track and rolled. And though he managed to conclude the stage, big damages meant retirement for the titled driver. Another victory contender, although among T2 crews, also faced a pity fiasco, when his Nissan Patrol stalled just 300 metres after the start of SS6 and refused to continue. That meant a big disappointment for the young driver, who had dominated the Baja since the first special stage and seemed to be in full control of the race.
However, most fascinating was the fight between Alexander Mironenko and Miroslav Zapletal for the final podium place.
Hundreds of spectators along the stages and dozens of journalists in the media centre witnessed their fight, but to a big disappointment of the Russian fans Alexander couldn't keep third position overall. On SS5 the crew hit a snowbank twice which cost them more than 5 minutes and fell behind his opponent. On the next stage there was no drama, but the Czech crew of Zapletal and Nemajer was just faster again – this time by 2 minutes. However, despite Zapletal took bronze in the International classification, Mironenko deserved his own cup in the national championship.
Another international guest – Italian Giovanni Manfrinato – managed to climb up to fifth place from the seventh position he kept after Leg 2. But even though he got used to his Megane Proto car and was able to improve his speed, such a result was mostly down to the misfortunes of his main competitors that we described above. Positions from 6th to 8th were occupied by the representatives of GeoRaid-RSG – Bogdan Novitskiy, Artem Varentsov and Sergey Savenko. These results, comined with Varentsov's victory in the T2 category that he inherited from Denisov, meant the team took the glory in the teams' standings.
So, the first round of the International Cup for Cross-Country Bajas concluded. We have first winners, they got first prizes. The debut of “Northern Forest” in the series proved to be quite successful, as not only spectators but also the sportsmen themselves enjoyed the race. Roll on to the next edition !