Truly “final rehearsal”

Санкт-Петербург 2010Dmitry TAGIROV and Anna ZAVERSHINSKAYA had completed the penultimate round of the Russian Rally Cup (and the last event in the pre-final part of that series) with a victory. But that victory, that is the seventh for the crew in that season – was not an easy job! The competition level at the event near the “Northern Capital” of Russia was extremely high!

                 

     As the crew expected, the “St.Petersburg” rally consisted of very varied special stages. After the organizers had shortened one of the stages, deleting the most damaged part of the road from the competitive distance, that route became even more interesting! The roads, that some years ago were used in the legendary “White Nights” rally, have a lot of tricky places: the jumps in the curves, bumps in the corners, bumpy sections where car was airborne more than going on the ground. It was crucial to use the correct lines and choose the correct speed to avoid heavy landings and damages of the car.

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That time Dmitry and Anna were keen to fulfill their old plan to avoid being first after the regroup, willing to escape from “bulldozer” work, cleaning the slippery top gravel. They are leading the series and are getting №1 at the start of few recent events. But even that necessity to clean the roads for those who are behind was not the biggest problem now. The crew is still learning, getting new experience. And it is very useful to have the experienced and fast competitors in front, having a possibility to study their lines and driving styles. On that event they had such competitors. And first of these competitors was definitely Stanislav Travnikov, the runner-up in the Cup. For Stanislav that rally could be named a home event, though he doesn’t know all the stages “by heart”, but still can teach few lessons of being fast on these roads. Dmitry and Anna had even made the task for themselves more complicated, having  the used set of tires for the first section chosen. It made them to be much more cautious and avoid aggressive attacks, as it was much more slippery on these tires.

And it was a very close to mistake! Yes, it was clear that Travnikov, who had the last opportunity to cut from Tagirov’s points advantage, would attack uncompromisingly. But Stanislav started the rally even much more aggressive, than it could be expected! He lost only one of the first three stages to Tagirov. And  on the second run of the same loop of stages the result was like in chess: 2,5:0,5,  that meant that only at “Khvoiny-2”100925-DTagi-SPb-10-act02 two drivers set equal times. The St. Petersburg driver continued to improve his lead, increasing it to 11 seconds on the first stage after the midday service. But now the plan of Dmitry and Anna started working: they were second on the road and they now tried to take control over the situation. And step by step they began to succeed in fulfilling that task! On the second run of SS “Zavetnoye” they were completely flat out and managed to take the lead in the rally. And never gave it back during that day! Figures confirm the level of competition: two top crews were separated by tiny 5,4 seconds at the finish line, but the third finisher (who was the phenomenally fast 2WD crew of Alexey Lukjanuk in 2-litre Group A Opel Astra) lost to them over 2 minutes! 

            Dmitry and Anna are quite optimistic after such a difficult victory. They had also chosen the car for the final event of the series, and it would be the Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX. At the “St. Petersburg” rally the crew was again completely satisfied with the level of preparing of the car, that was provided by the team of Latvian ace Janis Vorobjovs, and appreciated the advices of the experienced driver and coach, that he managed to give them even being hundreds kilometers away at the important domestic event.

        So only few days now are left before the final and deciding event of Russian Rally Cup 2010. On Wednesday Dmitry and Anna would leave to Krasnodar Region, where they are planning to have the brief tests before the event they regard to be the main for the crew in that season. They want to be ready as good as possible before that event, where the tough competition is expected again. But that competition would decide the name of the winners in the series.           100925-DTagi-SPb-10-act03   

Dmitry TAGIROV, the driver: The opening section was not only extremely fast, but also included the stages of different width. These changes of rhythm added the interest to the driving. SS “Zavetnoye” made me to worry most of all: it’s possible to drive there quite fast, but when the stakes are high and you are pushing on the limit – it becomes really very dangerous! And by the end of the day it was namely there, where the rally was decided. On the first run Stas was extremely fast, having beat us, but on the second run we managed to slip into the leading position there. We were more flying than driving, as the jumps and bumps were following one another. I was sure that there would be some damages to the car after these “flights” but indeed everything was OK. After that stage, SS “Melnikovo” was like a rally fairytale: good surface, a little bit slippery, with 3D road – like in Finland! And the final stage “Bogatyri” was like a test for braveness: you accelerating up to 5th gear and after that going completely flat out, with “pedal to the metal”! It is a short stage, but it brings you a good portion of fear!
Stas had set such a fast rhythm, that I was not ready indeed to have him so far ahead! It was a good psychological duel! And I’m extremely glad that we had fulfilled our task, being not only “simply fast”, but successful in building our strategy. We had to think a lot! Anna assisted me in that duel perfectly, I felt her support 100%. I had seen that Stas was very disappointed after the finish – of course, he was aiming for a win in his home event. But any way he had fight very well, and I appreciate him very much for that fight! He was attacking very good, indeed, I can say that these speeds were worth the level of the national championship! But that time the luck was on our side.100925-DTagi-SPb-10-act04

Anna ZAVERSHINSKAYA, the co-driver: On the third section we were really fast, fighting for a win. But “Zavetnoye-2” was some “space race”, indeed! It was very, very interesting from my, co-drivers point, it was very interesting work! The car was sideways all the time, was getting airborne, it was almost flying all the time! I didn’t have a tiny moment to raise my head, to look to the road. We gave 100% of us to that stage – the driver, me, the car. I like the close fights, and that event was one of these with very high level of competition!