P-WRC: Rally Sweden: Ascania Racing preview

Mentos Ascania Racing going to Rally Sweden P-WRC 2011

Ukrainian rally team Mentos Ascania Racing is going to participate in Rally Sweden, which will be held till 10-13 February 2011 near Karlstad. The team enters championship with three cars - Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX driven by Valery Gorban, Oleksandr Saliuk and Alexey Kikireshko. Rally Sweden will be the first race in team's P-WRC program. Last year Oleksandr Saliuk and Valery Gorban took part in three races of NEZ series and Rally of Turkey - that were first steps for completed world championship of 2011.

P-WRC is limited to production-based cars homologated under the Group N. It became popular in all around the world and now involves 7 races and teams from 14 countries. For the first time in the world rallying history P-WRC championship includes so many participants from the former Soviet Union: Yuriy Protasov and three Mentos Ascania Racing cars and one Russian crew of Dmitry Tagirov. Thereby 2011 P-WRC championship was even called "USSR Rally Cup" in fan audience. Oleksandr Saliuk and Yuriy Protasov were warring competitors for absolute title in Ukrainian native championship during several years so their meeting on P-WRC rallies could be one of the most exciting battle of Rally Sweden.

The history of Rally Sweden started in 1950 and the rally kept on as a summer rally until 1965. It became one of the most popular race in all WRC championship since that. Rally Sweden is the only true winter rally of the year with snow and ice covered gravel and low temperature as low as -25.

It has a unique cross-border stage which runs in Norway and Sweden both. Total distance of SS of the rally is 348 km for 2011, the longest one is 24,63 km and the shortest - 1,9 km (Karlstad SSS).

The rally is going to be the hard test for Mentos Ascania Racing. All team's cars were built by own hands of Ukrainian specialists and Mentos Ascania Racing is native manufacturer of rally cars. Two of three cars are absolutely new and now the team is preparing to the most important procedure of Rally Sweden - technical inspection.

Mentos Ascania Racing is going to take its own place in the common list of such sport cars manufacturers as Top Run Racing, Ralli Art, Prodrive, URT and so on. They all have strong reputation and clients: P-WRC championship itself is unofficial " competition" among sport cars manufacturers.

Ukrainian cars have to be as fast, reliable and strong as possible to make trustworthy image for their builders. So Mentos Ascania Racing makes its own manufacturer's debut on Rally Sweden.

Oleksandr Saliuk: "I have no idea about my plans and goals for this rally, the main purpose for me is just to finish the rally. We didn't have enough time to prepare for WRC so I planned to take maximum from official tests on February 7th. I'm not going to concentrate on Yuriy Protasov - my native competitor from Ukraine. I'm going to do my best."

Evgeniy Leonov: "There is no surprise in snow-covered road for our crew - we have an experience of that kind of rallies and tests. According to the meteorological forecast it's going to be warm weather - temperatures can reach above 0 degrees and it may be raining. It's not winter weather at all! As for three days racing program I think it would be quite comfortable for us".

Vadim Chernega: "During my career I already had long races .The most hardest thing in long races is the ability to keep yourself concentrated for a long time. During the official test program we are going to understand more about new type of studded tires with wide wheels and driving conditions".

-source: ascania racing

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Series WRC