Mentos Ascania Racing finished Rally Sweden
Two crews of the Mentos Ascania Racing finished Rally Sweden - Valeriy Gorban and Evgeniy Leonov had the 4th result, Oleksandr Saliuk and Pavel Cherepin won four stages on Sunday and showed stable and self-reliant drive, but despite of this success they could reach only the 7th place in P-WRC ranking. Unfortunately, Aleksey Kikireshko and Vadim Chernega lost their chance to finish the race - snow traps were big problems of the crew.
Till Saturday fans of Oleksandr Saliuk had one question: "What's going on with Saliuk?". He was very unstable and not as fast as he used to be. Saliuk even said he could win a special prize in this race - "Golden shovel", because he spent too much time with it till the day releasing his car. And on Sunday he finally became much faster and won four SS. Mentos Ascania Racing crew found attention of the spectators and fans and appreciation of the colleagues. But it could not give them the additional time:
Oleksandr Saliuk called Sweden very difficult for his crew - before the start our guys were talking about only one goal: to reach the finish. But as fast driver as Oleksandr Saliuk is was longing to find "middle way" between extremely fast speed and stability. Oleksandr Saliuk and Pavel Cherepin finished on the 7th position of the P-WRC ranking. That was not the dream of the fourfold champion of Ukraine, but Sunday part of the rally confirmed that Saliuk was going to find his "middle way".
The crew of Valeriy Gorban and Evgeniy Leonov was the example of stable and self-controlled drive on Saturday. Nicolas Fuchs was his nearest competitor yesterday and Valeriy won only 1,7 sec on the SSS! But today the crew made a mistake which became a critical for the race result. Thereby Gorban lost the chance to change the balance of the duel on his behalf. Gorban and Leonov were faster than Protasov at the SS19, they were 3rd at the SS21, and even 2nd at the final stage... But this time he couldn't reach the podium. Despite of this Valery Gorban and Evgeniy Leonov was the luckiest crew of the Mentos Ascania Racing team - they were the most stable from the beginning till the end of Rally Sweden.
Unfortunately Aleksey Kikireshko and Vadim Chernega had one more retirement on Sunday - they crashed the car in a snowdrift.
The final podium of Rally Sweden became glorious for Ukraine: Martin Semerad from Czech Republic became the winner, Ukrainian driver Yuriy Protasov took the 2nd place, and the 3rd winner was Nicolas Fuchs from Peru. It's a pity, but Russian driver Dmirtiy Tagirov couldn't get higher than 6th place - he lost too much yesterday.
Of course this year Rally Sweden lost two fast P-WRC driver and the battle for the podium couldn't be really tight. But Mentos Ascania Racing did very important investment to the international image of the Ukrainian rally drivers. We built three sport cars by our own mechanics' team, passed the technical control and spent three days in competition with the best drivers in the world. We are going to take the Swedish experience with us to the rest of the P-WRC championship - it's just a start, see you in Portugal!
-source: ascania racing