Предгорье Кавказа 2010So the time for the final battle for Russian Rally Cup -2010 had come! The crew, which is leading the series before the final round quite comfortably, waiting for a high level of sporting fight and try to keep as much concentration as possible before the race, that is going to be the main for them in that season.


        The "Caucasus Foothill" rally is going to be a beautiful finish for a long Cup's season. Having started in December, 2009, the sportsmen had competed on icy and snowy roads, stormed their cars through gravel and stony roads all across the main territory of Russia. The final meeting would happen on the roads, that are regarded one of the best in the country – the mountain roads around the town of Goryachy Kljuch (the Hot Spring) in the Krasnodar Region.

    The tradition of bringing the final round of that series here was born not so long ago,  Предгорье Кавказа 2010but already managed to get its own and respectable place in today's Russian rallying. Teams come here to score the final and deciding points, to check the own skills on real rally roads among good competitors, and also in attempt to catch the "velvet season", the final warm days of the resort's summer, which is almost ready to send a final farewell.

   This year more than 40 crews, competing in the Russian Rally Cup or scoring points for the Open Championship of Krasnodar Region confirmed their participation. Half of them belongs to the 4WD categories – international N4 and national 4000H. Both main "duelists" for the driver's title – Dmitry Tagirov and Stanislav Travnikov are here, of course. And the title would be decided between them only, as all others could try to fight for all the places but the first – these top 2 are too far in the general classification. But speaking about Top10 we see quite an interesting picture: most of the drivers, who were fighting for these positions through the season – are also in Goryachy Kljuch. And that promises a very close fight. Saying more, the regular participants of the 2010 series would be joined by a crew of RRC-2004 winner Mikhail Lepekhov, who would be co-driven by... RRC-2007 winner and former Citroen Junior WRT driver Evgeny Novikov! They are not going to take the Cup points from the regulars, as not registered for it, but in the rally itself they would definitely be one of the main favorites.

     Even within such interesting competitors' surrounding, Dmitry Tagirov and Anna Zavershinskaya keep their concentration before the rally start. They had already done a lot to build that season's victory, and now this preliminary work helps them to avoid unnecessary risks. Even if their main rival, Travnikov, would get an outright win in "Caucasus Foothill", it would be enough for Dmitry to complete the event on the 6th position. And he would secure the season's win with one point – single but enough point.

       But to get at least a single point – first you have to get the car to the finish podium. That's why a special attention is being paid now both to technical issues and psychological condition of the crew. For the final round the crew had selected Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX, prepared by Latvian team of Janis Vorobjovs. That car had already brought them three victories in the Cup rounds in a row. After the recent participation in the "St. Petersburg Rally" the car had passed the complete checking and is 100% ready for a new start now. But to have a complete confidence in the cars and also to find the best possible settings, the crew had the brief private tests before the beginning of reconnaissance. There is also another specific of this route – part of the stages would run in darkness, so it was necessary to refresh the feelings of driving with the additional headlights.

      Предгорье Кавказа 2010Today the crews had the reconnaissance day. As usual, the special stages of that rally mostly winding through the "auxiliary" roads around the gas-pipes territories, and normally are closed for traffic. That fact provides the perfect condition of the roads' surface, but on the other hand – a lot of small gravel, that is not cleaned by the traffic from the roads day-by-day – makes the stages extremely slippery and the starting position very important. Though it was raining some days before the rally heavily, the importance of starting position decreased: rain made the roads much more slippery for everyone. So who would risk now to bet on the weather on the day of the start? Any way it's clear, that the rally wouldn't be easy. If the roads would have enough time to get dry – then the dust, usual for that kind of surface, would cause problems. And the organizers reserved the two-minute interval between all the crews for that occasion. But if the rain would come back – it would be very slippery.

       Uphill and downhill sections, curves and the cliffs at the road edges, also the high speeds – this is the character of the "Caucasus Foothill" rally route. And this route would decide this weekend the destiny of the most popular national rally series – the Russian Rally Cup. The crew of Dmitry Tagirov and Anna Zavershinskaya had gained the leadership in the series in the first half of the season and now hopes that the sporting Fortune would be on their side!


       Дмитрий Тагиров  Dmitry Tagirov, the driver: "We are quite calm before that start. As people say – winter is always unexpected, when you are not getting ready for it beforehand. We were getting ready for our "winter" through the entire season. We did a lot of testing work and were experimenting too. Now it's too late to change something or to look for something. We just have to set the final mark of the season. And this is a good place to do it, on these perfect roads. I like them very much! It would be easy for no one here, and that's why "Caucasus Foothill" is a perfect place for the final round. Almost all of the main competitors are not local, so the chances would be equal. So let's see, what would be "the route's decision"...

       Анна ЗавершинскаяAnna Zavershinskaya, co-driver: "On one hand – that is a really main rally for us that year. That is the way to summarize all the efforts, all the work that had started last December. We feel that we worked hard that year and now have a right to hope for the best result. On the other hand, the paradox is that we really don't need to win the rally this time. Our reserve of points lets us to finish the event on the sixth place. And that is also a sort of a pressure on us. Of course, we should fight 100% in that event, there is no other opportunity, when you have such strong rivals. But the situation lets us to be a little bit more relaxed before rally start. But that is also – the result of a work all through the year...


Photos by Lina Arnautova (almrally.ru)

So the time for the final battle for Russian Rally Cup -2010 had come! The crew, which is leading the series before the final round quite comfortably, waiting for a high level of sporting fight and try to keep as much concentration as possible before the race, that is going to be the main for them in that season.