Budapest, Hungary -- American driver Robby Gordon and his Monster Energy Toyo Tire blazed to a second place finish in the first stage of the inaugural Central European Rally. The stage began before a large crowd at Hero's Square in Budapest ...
Budapest, Hungary -- American driver Robby Gordon and his Monster Energy Toyo Tire blazed to a second place finish in the first stage of the inaugural Central European Rally.
The stage began before a large crowd at Hero's Square in Budapest where the teams were introduced to the spectators. The competitors then drove to beginning of the special 58km away in Dabas. More like a WRC style rally course rather than the marathon wide open stages of the Dakar, Gordon and navigator Andy Grider laid siege to the tight twisty tree lined narrow track.
"We attacked the course today. This is a sprint race that is going to be one by minutes if not seconds, so it is great that we are second after the first stage. This was a fantastic result for our team because we are competing against some of the best teams in the world. The competition has done their homework but so has this team. We went hard today and still got beat by about 40 seconds so I know we have some work to do, but overall I'm very happy" said Gordon.
Teammate BJ Baldwin impressed the crowds with his wide-open driving style but one of the spare drive shafts stored in the engine compartment broke free and knocked off a drive belt, which he and navigator Kevin Heath repaired. With the setback the Vanguard Hummer team finds themselves in 23rd position -- 9:41 seconds back from overall stage winner Carlos Sainz of Spain.
The rally now heads for Baia Mare in Romania for the second stage which will feature two specials -- both 76km. The terrain is reported to be muddy and rocky.
Coverage of the Central Europe Rally can be seen in the United States on DirecTV. The half hour show will be aired twice -- first at 7p.m. est and then again at 12:30a.m. Additional rally coverage can also be found on robbygordon.com and robbysuprising.com where Team Dakar USA will have daily updates, the twitter micro blog feed, and videos.