A re-debut


The “Gukovo” rally is always a serious test for people and cars. And even more than usual this could be said this year, when the extraordinary 35C heat is added to all the regular difficulties. Dmitry TAGIROV already has a finish in “Gukovo” rally in his record, but still he has too have a debut here tomorrow. How can it happen so? Everything is quite simple: in 2009 he participated in this event as a co-driver, and now he will have a debut as a driver.


    The route of “Gukovo” rally is an artificial one. It was namely built through the fields of Rostov  Region about 20 years ago by the group of local rally enthusiasts. Since that time this rally became one of the most popular in Russian Rally Championship. Rough and demanding when dry, extremely slippery and muddy when wet. That rally doesn’t leave indifferent: usually someone like it or dislike. But the continuing work of the organizers is aimed to make the roads’ quality better and better, and this work gives the positive results.

This year one of the most famous special stages of that rally is back to the route – “Bougry Ljubvi” (“The Love Hills”) with its tremendous series of jumps. But in general, the 2010 edition of that rally is extremely compact (even if we would remember that “Gukovo” is always one of the most compact events in Russian rallying, as all the rally route is placed in the area 10x15 kilometers!). The route of this year includes only three different special stages, each run three times: two times in one direction and once in the reverse direction. Such plan lets to make a rally with 153 competitive kilometers of stages a one-day event only. But there would be a special difficulty that year, as July is the hottest month in Rostov’s fields and the temperature could reach 35C in the shadow.


         Dmitry Tagirov and Anna Zavershinskaya enter the “Gukovo” rally on their N12 Subaru Impreza. There is quite an interesting fact: in 2009 Dmitry Tagirov already participated in this event and became a bronze-prize winner in 4000H national 4WD category. But he did this as a co-driver to his friend and teammate Artyom Malyarov. And 2010 is the driver’s debut for Dmitry here. This demands some specific approach, as “Gukovo” is not the event for an immediate success – it’s almost impossible for a newcomer to win here. And the crew realizes this fact very good. Despite they are using their own and very well known car, Dmitry and Anna did quite a serious preparatory work. They were the first to start the reconnaissance and also decided to take maximum possible from the official pre-start shakedown. Usually Dmitry tries to set the best time at the shakedown, but not this time. The crew preferred to increase speed step by step, trying the car’s limits. So he set the second best time, while the best one was set by the reigning national champion, the Swedish driver of URT team Patrik Flodin.

    The one-day format would only add the difficulty to the event. 150 special stage kilometers in one day is quite similar to the distance of one day of WRC event. And that long day would be a day with the extremely hot weather. Here, in Gukovo, we can see all the main crews, who are fighting for the national title. Also as the “chasing group”, is ready to join the fight for the victory if some of the main favorites fail. So, despite there is only 33 crews in the starting grid, that couldn’t be called a big number – the heat of the fight would be the same for Dmitry and Anna. The fight would be hot both from the sporting point of view and because of the weather, too.

Шейкдаун      Dmitry TAGIROV, the driver: It is very important to choose the correct rhythm here. And we will have to do that not later and not earlier than after first or second stage. That seems to be quite a long distance for such a decision. But you have to be patient here, and put the exact accents. To decide the braking and acceleration points. The distance of the rally is long, and if you not going to spend some time for such a decision – probably you can lose a necessity to make such a decision later, as there could be no this “later” for you. Some people say that that rally is quite safe as there are no trees alongside the road, but I didn’t see any place where you can go off the road without a serious punishment for that. If you are off, mainly on the high speed – this easily could be the end for your rally. So we need to be very, very careful here! The heat also influences the tactics: you have to save your forces and save the car. We are going to choose a medium rhythm, without extra attack. To attack from start to finish is too much risk here.