Tempestini takes European Cup with victory in Russia
"Novorossiysk Rally of Russia 2009", the final round of the FIA East European Rally Cup and the final event in the Russian Rally Championship, was held at the Black Sea on October 10th-11th. It was the guest from Italy Marco Tempestini, who adapted to the challenging conditions better than anybody else and, having found the ideal balance between speed and reliability, won the event in a dominant fashion to win the prestigious Cup.
The second day of "Novorossiysk Rally of Russia 2009" was shorter than previous: just 53.6 kilometres of competitive distance, on which it promised to be very difficult to cut even a small gap, but so easy to lose the whole race... That is why not many drivers were brave enough to attack on Sunday's stages.
One of those who found some courage was Gennadiy Broslavskiy, driving Mitsubishi Lancer. After the yesterday's accident, which could have been a big blow for some other sportsman, Gennadiy proved his quality and picked up the pace. Already after SS7 did it become evident that Evgeniy Aksakov (Mitsubishi Lancer), driving third overall, would have to try hard in order to defend his position - within just one stage his advantage over Broslavskiy was cut down to only 7 seconds. The Academy of Speed's director, who before this rally hadn't driven competitively at such a high level for quite a time, kept on pushing, and after the penultimate stage only 0.3 seconds separated him from the podium place. In the end his charge didn't work out, as Aksakov drove brilliantly through the last speed test to post his first best time of this rally and take the overall Bronze.
Speedwise second fastest driver of Sunday was Vadim Makarov (Mitsubishi Lancer) who returned into action under SupeRally rules. He won two stages of the day and proved that he became European autocross champion not by an accident. If not for the broken gearbox, which stopped his yesterday's run, he would have had all chances to finish the event in second position and come closer to the winner (today he made up 40 seconds on Tempestini).
Evgeniy Aksakov, despite his late charge, was only third fastest through the day, but nevertheless finished the event on the rostrum, underlining his perfect comeback to the Russian championship. Having won the first morning stage, the star of Saturday Alexander Nebogatikov (Subaru Impreza) eased off his pace. His 2nd place was under no threat anymore and he could allow himself to relax - as much as was needed to withstand the challenging conditions. And so did rally leader Marco Tempestini (Peugeot 207 S2000), who made sure he would bring his car safely to the finish. He succeeded on his errand and eventually became the winner of the FIA East European Rally Cup 2009. Congratulations to Marco and his co-driver Dorin Pulpea!
And while for the most of 4WD crews the final day was all about caution and care, their colleagues in front-wheel drive cars showed how quickly things could change in the Novorossiysk rally and how the golden rule of motorsport "to finish first you first have to finish" worked on tricky mountain roads above the Black Sea. There were no changes in Group R2, as Igor Storchak maintained his advantage to finish best among the monodrive crews and wrap up the title (he's tied on points with runner-up Evgeniy Rogov, but wins on 2 victories against 1). However it was about R1, where all the mess happened. After Day1 the Lada Team works driver Dmitriy Bragin was only 5th in the standings, and he must have been definitely surprised to see himself at the top of the standings in just four-stages time.
Driving in front of him Ruslan Kucher, Arkadiy Bogomolov and Vladimir Kabanov all retired on the final stages (Kabanov's car was completely destroyed in a post-crash fire on SS10), handing the rally victory, as well as the Russian category title, to the Lada driver.
Talking about the European Cup classification, it has a different class gradation and still uses "A" and "N" letters for lower classes, while the Russian Championship switched to "R" groups from this year. This means that Evgeniy Rogov won "Novorossiysk Rally of Russia 2009" in the A6 category (which hardly makes up for the lost national title) and Mikhail Milov took the victory in A7. Milov's points finish made sure there were now ten qualified crews in this season's R3 classification, and that is good news for Kaspar Koitla who can now be officially crowned as the Russian Rally Champion in the category. The Estonian spent this weekend, winning the final round of his national series in Group A7, and news from Novorossiysk should come to him as an icing on the cake. Dmitriy Bragin and Igor Storchak doubled their national success by winning in N2 and N3 categories respectively.