SUCCESSFUL SEASON KICK-OFF FOR VLADIMIR VASILYEV / KONSTANTIN ZHILTSOV IN RUSSIA
Following the Dakar Rally in January, featuring heat and sand, X-raid had to cope with completely different conditions, in the FIA Cross Country Rally World Cup season opener in Russia: Ice, snow and even more ice and snow. In the Baja Russia Northern Forest, Russian pairing Vladimir Vasilyev / Konstantin Zhiltsov secured second place behind Toyota's Yazeed Al-Rajhi, with their MINI ALL4 Racing. While young Pole Martin Kaczmarski and his Portuguese co-driver Filipe Palmeiro came fourth. Ruslan Misikov (RUS) and Vitaliy Yevtyekhov (UKR) in the first BMW X3 CC finished sixth, whith the Russians Andrey Dmitriev and Vladimir Demyanenko taking the second BMW X3 CC to 13th place.
For the MINI ALL4 Racing, the Russian event represented the first kilometres on ice and snow. To be well prepared for the unfamiliar conditions, the vehicle was modified in several areas. For instance, it had to be made sure that engine, gearbox and differential maintained their working temperatures to be able to fully deliver in the cold. In addition, the cabin also had to be heated to keep drivers and co-drivers warm.
In the prologue with its distance of just 6.5 kilometres, the drivers mainly focused on covering the distance without damaging their vehicles – to be well prepared for the things to come on the following days. Vasilyev entered the event as defending champion but in the first special stage on Saturday, he seemed to have signed a bad-luck deal. Twice he hit a rock and had to stop for changing a tyre. He nonetheless finished third but crossed the finish line some four minutes behind the leader, Al-Rajhi. For the second special stage, he opted for a more conservative approach, encountered no problems whatsoever – and finished runner-up, just a second behind the second fastest. In the final special stage on Sunday, Vasilyev pushed to the max and secured the special-stage win. He also succeeded in massively closing in on Al-Rajhi but in the end, this wasn't enough for overtaking and defeating the driver from Saudi Arabia.
Vladimir Vasilyev: I consider our result and the race as “well-done"! Organizers prepared for us the interesting route including fast parts and wood sections. In sporting aspect the only one bad luck was to have two punctures and lost 4 minutes for change on the second special on Saturday. The rivals were very strong, I liked the fight we had on the track. Yazeed is a skilled rally driver, he was very fast in Russia, did a great job. We did a good race with Konstantin, my co-driver, and even if it was our first race together we began understand each other from the first kilometer. So, we we waiting already the Italian Baja as upcoming event of World Cup. I wish to thank our partner – G-Energy who supports our team in this season, to the X-Raid technical staff for professional assistance and my family and fans for support!
For Kaczmarski, it was the first appearance in an ice-and-snow cross-country event – but the Pole delivered in fine style, nevertheless. He contested all the special stages without suffering punctures or encountering any other problems. By finishing fourth, he also proved to be the best Polish competitor. Meanwhile, the two pairings contesting the Russian Baja with BMW X3 CC vehicles also impressed with good results. Due to minor driving mistakes, Misikov and Dmitriev had their meetings with the Russian flora but succeeded in surviving these incidents without damaging their cars seriously and so, they finished sixth and twelfth respectively.
“We are really happy with the result," said X-raid Team Manager Sven Quandt. “For us and the MINI ALL4 Racing, it was the first event we had to contest in conditions as cold as here. The drivers delivered in great style and the MINI also convinced, thus demonstrating that we did a good preparation job and made the appropriate modifications. Nonetheless, I'm happy that the next events on the calendar will be held in warmer conditions."
The next event for X-raid will be the Baja Italy, the second round of the FIA Cross Country Rally World Cup 2014, held in mid-March.
1st Y. Al-Rajhi (KSA) / T. Gottschalk (GER) Toyota – 3h 36m 09s
2nd V. Vasilyev (RUS) / K. Zhiltsov (RUS) MINI ALL4 Racing – 3h 37m 57s
3rd R. Varela (BRA) / G. Gugelmin (BRA) Toyota – 3h 42m 25s
4th M. Kaczmarski (POL) / F. Palmeiro (POR) MINI ALL4 Racing – 3h 44m 39s
5th M. Dabrowski (POL) / J. Czachor (POL) Toyota – 3h 46m 18s
6th R. Misikov (RUS) / V. Yevtyekhov (UKR) BMW X3 CC – 3h 50m 07s
13th A. Dmitriev (RUS) / V. Demyanenko (RUS) BMW X3 CC – 4h 01m 56s
"A challenge for those who go on. A dream for those who stay behind." This is how the founder of the Dakar Rally, Thierry Sabine, once described his inspiration for the most fascinating rally event on the international motorsport calendar. Since 1978, courageous drivers on motorcycles, quads, in cars and trucks have been demonstrating their ability as they make their way through the desert on the world's most infamous endurance rally.
Up to 2008, the event was held exclusively in Africa, and was initially known as the "Paris-Dakar Rally" due to the location of its start and finish. Over the course of time, the route and the start and finish locations have changed several times. In 1995 the rally started elsewhere other than Paris for the first time. "Paris-Dakar" became "Dakar". Then, in 2009, the unsettled political situation in some African countries saw the event moved to South America, where it has been held since – and has lost none of its original appeal.
All this makes the Dakar Rally a unique challenge for man and machine. Unlike rallies such as those in the World Rally Championship (WRC), this marathon rally does not take place on designated, blocked-off roads and routes, but on open, largely unmarked terrain. Each entrant must first and foremost rely on his/her driving skills.
The competitors must complete up to 800 kilometres per day – a nerve-wracking, two-week marathon, during which the organisers only allow the drivers one rest day. No wonder more than 50% of entrants retire from the Dakar Rally each year. Whatever happens, every day will be an exciting day once the Dakar Rally gets underway again in January 2014.
Date of birth: 11.08.1969
Hobbies: rallys, hunting, winemaking
Place of birth: Tver / RUS
Family status: married, 3 daughters and one son
Place of residence: St. Petersburg / RUS
10th place Dakar 2014 3rd place OiLibya Rally of Morocco 16th place Dakar - Best first time entrant 2nd place Silk Way Rally 1st place Russian Rally Raid Championship 2nd place Russian Rally Raid Championship 1st place Italian Baja 3rd place Baja Spain Italian Baja Silk Way Rallye - One stage win First Rally Raid participation
Date of birth: 19.05.1977
Hobbies: cross-country rally, alpine skiing, parachute, wakeboarding
Place of birth: Dnepropetrovsk / UKR Familienstand: married, 2 daughters
Place of residence: Dnepropetrovsk / UKR
10th place Dakar 2014 3rd place OiLibya Rally of Morocco 16th place Dakar - Best first time entrant 2nd place Silk Way Rally 1st place Russian Rally Raid Championship 2nd place Russian Rally Raid Championship 1st place Italian Baja 3rd place Baja Spain