FRIDAY THIRTEENTH IS NOT A PROPER DAY TO HAVE A START!

Южный Урал 2010

The crew of Dmitry Tagirov and Anna Zavershinskaya was very well prepared for the “South Ural Rally”, the 6th and penultimate round of the Russian Rally Championship. But due to the chain of problems starting with punctures and following with an impressive off at the second day of the event they failed not only to get into the points, but even to get their Subaru Impreza to the finish line.

 

The “South Ural” rally, located between the towns of Satka and Bakal is included to the Russian Rally Championship calendar for the 4th time. That rally is unique for the national championship season, as the route flows between and inside the huge open quarries, the roads are rocky and demanding. These roads don’t forgive mistakes and the cars suffer here not only from the rocky route and multiple punctures, but also from the mountain air, that decreases the engines’ power. But one could hardly hear sportsmen blaming “South Ural” for being too rough. That event is one of the most compact in the entire season, the liaison distances are minimum possible. And the same repeating parts of special stages are used in both directions to configure the route. Such “maximum percentage of the pure rallying” together with the year-to-year organizers’ work on improvement of the roads makes that rally one of the most interesting events of the season. Locals are also very hospitable to the sportsmen, and that adds the positive impressions. Южный Урал 2010

The expectations from “South Ural 2010” were really high for Dmitry and Anna. Dmitry knows these roads best of all the routes of the Championship, as he had already competed here. So he kept a hope that such an experience could be a good benefit for him. The crew successfully completed the pre-start preparations, starting form the private tests aimed on finding the appropriate settings of the car. At the official shakedown, though it does not represent the route itself well enough at that rally, the work still was continued. So the car was as ready for the oncoming competition as good as it was possible.

Dmitry and Anna started the first section quite cautiously, like they also used to do at the summer events before. But  even being so cautious, they still managed to set quite good times being second overall on the opening stage “Rudnicny-1” and fourth on the second one, “Irkuskan-1”, that was twice shorter. They managed to do that regardless the minor problem with water injector of the intercooler, that was solved at the midday service. After the service the cars had to pass the same stages for the second time, and it was clear, that there is a good reserve to go faster.

Referring to the onboard video records, on the section 2 Dmitry and Anna managed to be faster for 1 second per kilometer in comparison with the morning pass. And that is quite a good improvement at such level of competition. But the luck was not with them at that Fiday, 13th! Dmitry didn’t put a wheel wrong at one of the jumps he knew well, sending the car airborne for a good flight. But a sharp rock that was dig out from the road by someone of front-runners, met a wheel of their Impreza at the landing point! There was more than half of a stage still to go, so a wheel change was necessary. But the problems with the electric unbolting unit caused extra time loss – about 14 minutes was lost at that stop. Even the third best time on the last stage of the day was a weak consolation. The crew calculated the total time losses and understood that it could be even better to retire that day instead of such a long wheel change – the superally penalty for 2 missed stages could be only 10 minutes, not 14. But that idea came too late…

 100813-YuU10-DT03-action2Next morning the rally continued, and though now there was no chance for podium, scoring points was still possible. Some other top runners also suffered from punctures, lost a plenty of time, so the time differences were rather big. Even with 14 minutes of delay it could still be possible to get as high as the fourth overall position! So the fight continued and another third best time was set by Dmitry and Anna at the first morning stage. But at the second stage another puncture came! That time the crew changed the wheel without any problems and quite fast. But when they continued, Dmitry found out that the safety belt was too weak. Trying to tighten it – he did it more than necessary and the belt started to press on the shoulder quite painfully, causing the difficulty to steer normally. Trying now to loosen it on a long straight section, the driver lost the concentration for a tiny moment, but that was enough… The car was too wide in a fast corner and touched the bank, than was “rocketed” to the other side of the road. There came a strong hit with the front end and semi-roll over the bonnet. The damage was too strong, it was impossible to continue. The “South Ural 2010” rally was over for the crew.


       The ProSport team crew of Andrey Zhigunov and Igor Ter-Oganesyantz won the event and that win guaranteed them the title regardless the results of the final round that would take place in mid-October in Novorossiysk.100813-YuU10-DT04-action3

That crew had overcome the long period of bad luck that prevented them from winning the title for 6 years, though they have five national titles in their history.

But still a lot to be decided in Novorossiysk. The overall silver and bronze, the titles in classes are still unclear. Now the national championship came to the almost 2 months brake. But for Dmitry and Anna the “vacations” wouldn’t be as long, as they continue the participation in National Cup where leading that second important national series.

 

Dmitry TAGIROV: I was not hundred percent sure that it would be easy for me to remember the details of that rally from my previous experience here. But at the recce I found out that some places could be easily restored in my memory. So I could quite easily analyze in my mind, how to drive there and that was a big difference for me in comparison with other championship rounds, where I didn’t have any previous experience. But that knowledge made the “South Ural” even more interesting for me, as before I did that rally on less powerful 2WD cars and now could feel the difference very well. We still have to improve our technical knowledge, still have to learn more about settings for different conditions. But we were ready for that exact event as good as it was possible for us. And had quite ambitious plans, though without overestimating ourselves. But everything turned so bad, that now the bad luck we had a month ago in Gukovo turned to be almost not a bad luck at all! We didn’t make any mistakes at the beginning of the rally, but got that puncture and that huge time loss. So the chain of misfortunes led to that final mistake – losing the concentration for a tiny moment was enough for an off.

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But I can still say that “South Ural” was a good and important experience for me. I made some necessary corrections, came closer for ideal settings. We failed in scoring points here, but that experience would be very useful for the next year and even earlier, as the “Novorossiysk Rally Russia” is also very rough and uses the mountain roads.