WRC

Candidate Rally of Russia post-event notes

"Novorossiysk Rally of Russia 2008", the 8th round of the Russian Rally Championship and the 5th round of the Citroen Cup, was held in Novorossiysk on 27-28 of September. For the first time in history of Russian motorsport the rally was ...

"Novorossiysk Rally of Russia 2008", the 8th round of the Russian Rally Championship and the 5th round of the Citroen Cup, was held in Novorossiysk on 27-28 of September. For the first time in history of Russian motorsport the rally was registered by the Federation International de l'Automobile (FIA) - the organiser of all motorsport competitions of the highest level worldwide - as a candidate event into the World Rally Championship (WRC).

Forty-seven crews arrived in Novorossiysk to tackle 225 competitive kilometers of the rough and difficult route, run in mountain areas on the coast of the Black Sea. This rally promised to define 2008 champions in both drivers'/co-drivers' and teams' classifications, as well as in some lower categories, even though this time it wasn't the showdown of the Russian Championship.

On 12 special stages the leader of the rally changed 4 times. First stage win was taken by 18-years old 2007 vice-champion Evgeniy Novikov (Mitsubishi Lancer EvoIX, E-Art Racing Team), but soon his place was occupied by 5-times Russian champion Andrey Zhigunov (Mitsubishi Lancer EvoIX, Driving Art). The next one to get on top of the standings was one of the most experienced and titled drivers in our country - 8-times national champion Timofey Vorobjev (Mitsubishi Lancer EvoVII, STK "Motor"), - but, just as the previous leaders, he experienced technical problems, leaving Alexander Zheludov (Subaru Impreza N12, ProtechMsport) all alone on the first position. Zheludov, competing this year with co-driver Irina Kolomeitseva), drove his car to the "gold" of "Novorossiysk Rally of Russia", which secured him his second championship title with one round remaining.

Novorossiysk Rally if famous for its unpredictability and nerve-strain fights. This competition has always kept both sportsmen and spectators in suspense until the last kilometer of the route: technical problems and retirements, misfortunes for favorites and successes for new rallying stars have all been parts of the hot action. This year was no exclusion, but nobody could foresee the eventual results of this year's event. And while Zheludov's victory was no surprise - Alexander was one of pre-event favorites, - the silver bronze winners reached overall podium finish for the first time not only in their careers, but also in modern history of Russian rallying. Had never before could front-wheel drive cars overtake FWD turbocharged vehicles, such as all-time rivals Subaru and Mitsubishi, for the rostrum finish, but that was it: the second and the third places were occupied by two Ford Fiestas of Sergey Naryshkin/Anton Trostin and Mikhail Milov/Dmitriy Kolomiets respectively.

"Novorossiysk Rally of Russia 2008" brought the championship title to one more crew - Alexey Ignatov and Evgeniy Krasnovid came victorious in 1600- liters N2 category and won the Citroen Cup - 2008.

The organisers of "Novorossiysk Rally of Russia 2008" are confident, that the event, run under candidate status, has proved to be a success, and is to reach the required standards and meet all the highest expectations already in the next season's attempt, which will allow the FIA to include Russia in the 2010 WRC calendar.

-credit: rally-russia.com

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Series WRC
Teams Citroën World Rally Team