| 27/02/2012 | 0 Comments

Winter darkness in the Russian countryside is absolute and dawn was only the slow changing of black through a few shades of grey. The two G-Forces were first off in today’s two stages, their headlights shining off the icy track in front of them.

Story and photos by Robb Pritchard

Vasiliev effortlessly drifted between the banks in controlled, flowing slides while Volikov came stabbing at the gas and throwing it into the corners, sending dirty snow high into the air. Third placed in the FIA spec class, Aldis Vilcans in his T1 Mitsubishi Pajero, was a long way back at CP2, but by the time we got to the finish the cars were parked up in parc ferme in a different order, with the black Mitsubishi between the two G-Forces. But it wasn’t Vilcans that Volikov lost second place to. The less restricted ‘National’ class  was also competing for overall places and Artur Murashkin in his Nissan Pickup started the last stage 1 minute 38 ahead.
It wasn’t a good stage for a few of the other crews featured yesterday either. The Kazakshanis who were leading the T1 class retired with engine failure and the Yoh Mobile also didn’t make it to the end.
In the regroup before the last stage Vladimir Vasiliev was noticeably more relaxed now that he had an advantage of nearly 12 minutes and handed out home made sausages to the team with a smile. Once again Vasiliev was calm and flowing while just doing enough to protect his lead while Volikov was bashing into the snow banks with abandon in an effort to claw back second place.
“I followed the road to get here for a long year and it’s an amazing feeling,” Vasiliev smiled before the podium celebrations. “It was hard to be first on the road as there was 10cm of snow so we were driving a G-Force bulldozer for the first 115km! The next race for us is in Italy and we’ll be there to win!”
Volikov was also in a good mood. “I’m happy to be after my team mate but I hope that next time we can arrange to change the results the other way around!
The reigning world T2 champion Ilya Kuznetzov driving his Mitsubishi Pajero,  (which is much smaller than his normal Toyota Landcruiser and therefore easier to fit down the narrow tracks) didn’t know if he’d won T2 or not. Andrey and Vladimir Novikov were 5 minutes ahead on the road but were facing exclusion for not wearing HANS devices.
One place behind Kuznetzov were Kirpilev and Vadim Shmaylov from the Belgorod Off-Road Team. A few small problems such as having too much pressures in the tyres and a malfunctioning TerraTrip slowed them but their whole event almost went up in flames… “We almost hit the village gas supply tank,” Maxim laughed. “We slide off and I tried to turn the car so that it would hit on the side… the co-driver’s side, of course.” “It was just a normal day in the office,” his thankless navigator Vadim shrugged.
In the restaurant about the carting track a feast was set out and the teams collected their trophies. Some got bigger cheers than others, but happiest of all was Vladimir Vasiliev.


1. Vladimir Vasiliev     G-Force Proto   04:01:37.00
2. Viktor Volikov         G-Force Proto             +16:11
3. Aldis Vilcans             Mitsubishi Pajero      +21:38
4. Bogdan Vavrenyuk   UAZ Hunter                +42:17
5. Anton Melnikov        Mitsubishi Pajero      +42:58

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Category: SPORT

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