FOLLOWING THE BRITISH RACERS’ PROVERB

 Выборг 2010 

The maiden participation in a difficult and tricky “Vyborg” rally brought Dmitry TAGIROV and Anna ZAVERSHINSKAYA a confident victory. Competing the experienced and fast crews, they managed to play their own game from the very beginning to the end, making everything in accordance with the planned strategy for the event. And the feeling that it was possible to do everything in accordance with the plans – satisfies Dmitry and Anna not less than the victory itself.

  

                    This year’s edition of “Vyborg” rally occurred to be not such rough as in previous years. Even the punctures were quite rare. But the retirement percentage was still high: less than a half of the starters managed to achieve the finish line – 17 cars of 36 original starters. Despite the situation that “Vyborg” rally was a sort of test session for them, Dmitry Tagirov and Anna Zavershinskaya had won the event, being more than a minute faster than the runner-up crew of Boris Fedotov.10vyb-DT-site-wide600

            After a chain of disappointments in previous events, Dmitry decided to analyze the origin of such misfortunes. What is necessary to decrease the possibility of such a “misfortune” that can easily break all the plans for the rally? That was the main psychological question for the driver to find the answer before the “Vyborg” start. So he decided to take the “observing” strategy for that event. There was definitely no reasons to take any excessive risks on the rally that was almost completely unfamiliar to Dmitry, driving for the first time ever a Mitsubishi on a gravel event. But there was a good bulk of competitors who could teach some lessons. The main of these competitors were Stanislav Travnikov and Boris Fedotov. Stanislav again had the most powerful car of the “open” national 4000N category and he knows these roads very well. Boris is one of the most experienced drivers in Russia, as he used to be the member of the national rally team in USSR times and now that driver, who is over 50, still has a lot of things to teach the younger generation.

            But there was one problem to fulfill these “observation” plans on the first section of the rally, and the name for that problem was the starting order. Being the leader of the National Cup, Dmitry received the number “1” and was first on the road. There were also some fears that the rain in the night and in the morning would make the road more slippery and the crew of white-blue Evo IX would have to clean the road for the other cars. But the rain was over and didn’t cause any problems. At the opening stage “Dubinino” Dmitry was only fourth, behind not only Travnikov and Fedotov, but also the surprisingly fast 2WD driver Alexey Lukjanuk, who set the fantastic second best time in his Opel Astra. But that result was not a disappointment for Dmitry and Anna, as everything was going in accordance with the plan to be maximum cautious. And even that caution let the crew to set the best time on the second special stage. 10vyb-DT-act01byAF-1000By the way, on that second stage there happened a couple of serious crashes: the rally was over for the sensation-maker Lukjanuk and also for 2008 FIA cross-country Cup winner Alexandr Mironenko.

            On the second run of “Dubinino” Travnikov set the best time again, but Tagirov was second and now he was also second in the overall classification. But the second run of “Perevoznoye”, that completed the first section of the rally – changed the situation significantly. Tagirov again was second here, but the best time was set with another cross-country driver, the “Dakar” participant Yaroslav Solovjov, who started his stage rally experiments not so long ago, but displays a steady progress. And what about Travnikov? The St. Petersburg driver crashed his Lancer, leaving the leadership to Tagirov! Fedotov managed to set only the 6th time here, though the time gaps were really small, so he kept his second position in the general classification.

            That leading position was a serious disadvantage for Dmitry and Anna as they didn’t have a chance to control the competitiors from behind again, like they wanted to do. But a sudden help came from… a mistake! A simple delay at the service park cost them 3 minutes lateness. The crew joked later: “Who would believe it was really a mistake, our inattention! Everybody would say we tried to play some tactic games, like big guys in WRC. But it was really so – we were simply late from the café, nothing else!”

            Any way now they were not first on the road. Fedotov, who was now running first understood, that the leader got the 30 seconds penalty. And he was really flying in attempt to cut the rest of Tagirov’s advantage! Now there was a perfect landmark – to have such an ace in front, who is willing to win and does his best to catch that win. All the rest of the rally Dmitry and Anna were doing exactly what they planned to do: watching the competitor. Probably the main disappointment that day came not to their rivals, who couldn’t beat the Tagirov’s crew, but… to the spectators and photographers, as Dmitry and Anna tried to avoid any risks, getting slow in dangerous places, where was some possibilities to damage the car. They also succeeded in the work with their pacenotes, using the double run of the stages and making all the necessary marks and corrections. Now they could see how Fedotov was going, even could see his lines – and could play their own game, keeping hundred percent confidence.10vyb-DT-act07byVC-1000

            By the end of the rally Dmitry and Anna not only protected their leadership, but managed to improve it, as they had won all the stages of the second section. And they did it, not pushing to the limit! That result – to achieve the goal, completely following the plans, keeping maximum confidence – admires them not less than the victory itself. That was an unfamiliar event for them, they had a car that was new for them on gravel, they had very strong rivals – but they managed to follow the strategy. The strategy that is well known from the old English racing proverb: to finish first, first you have to finish!

 

Dmitry TAGIROV, the driver: “After our disappointments in Gukovo and Satka I managed to understand for myself that rallying is too complicated racing discipline to be only a question of pure speed. And that time we were driving as much dispassionately, as it was possible. Being honest, I would prefer to start third to the second section to observe everything what was happening in front of us, to see the competitors’ lines. We almost tried to “lose” that leading position, but the problem was that nobody managed to pick it up! I didn’t know that route at all, but I had heard a lot about it. So I wanted to learn and feel all its tricks and difficulties, all these “3D” curves, all the bends with the jumps, bumps on the entrances to the curves… We made a lot of marks in our pacenotes and used these marks on the second passes. We understood that our pacenotes work fine in different conditions and we are really satisfied with that fact. On the second passes we were approximately one second per kilometer faster, but together with that possibility to increase the speed – we still have a possibility of extra practice work in the fast places. It could seem unbelievable, but on such a rough and stony route, like Vyborg is – we avoided any damage to the car, it is 100% ready for the next race! I realized, that even that tricky place on “Perevoznoye” stage, 10vyb-DT-act08byVC-1000where so many crews crashed – was quite clear for me. Entering that turn with the descent you have to understand that it tightens in the end, and choose the entrance point perfectly. But if you drive with a reasonable reserve – you still have a possibility for slight corrections of that entrance point, then making a mark in your pacenotes for future passes. So really no problem there!

            For the first time that season we managed to make our performance as much dispassionate and following the planned strategy as it is possible. Yes, there are still too many things for me to learn about these abilities. But the main result of “Vyborg” for me was the feeling of such a “planned performance” – and I like that feeling very much! I realized that “doing rallies” is not a simple “racing”, that rallying is not a matter of pure speed, that it is a complicated mix of speed, total control of emotions, concentration, strategy and tactics. And being honest – I like such rallying, such approach to that kind of sports even more!”