On February 24-26, Sortavala and Suojarvi regions of Karelia hosted the only snow stage of the World Cup for Cross-Country Rallies.
This kind of race was held in the Republic for the third time and this year it brought together 31 crews from 10 countries: France, Poland, Latvia,
Czech Republic, Slovakia, Qatar, Belarus, Finland, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Saudi Arabia. The organizers noted that the special interest of Karelian
women fans was caused by the arrival of Yazir Seidan, the "real Arabian prince" - the Arab sheikh, and the winner of several stages of the World Cup series.
On February 24th, after the festive start in Sortavala, the crews went to the first speed section. A three-kilometer stage available for spectators with numerous
turns made the athletes work hard: there had been heavy snowfalls in the Sortavala region on the eve and on the day of the race, that's why the rally track was
loose and slippery. The best time among the World Cup participants in the first special stage was shown by the Polish crew of Aron Domzhal and Simon Gospodarchik.
Andrey Rudskoy and Evgeny Zagorodnyuk from the St. Petersburg team SUPROTEC Racing became the best among all the crews (the stage of the Russian championship was
also held as a part of Baja Russia - Northern Forest). Alexander Voronov, the Minister of Youth Affairs, Physical Training, and Sports of Karelia presented them
with the Cup of the Head of the Republic in the form of a bear made of shungite.
Based on the results of all the race days, the crew of Aron Domzaly and Simon Gospodarczyk from Poland became the winner of the first stage of the World Cup. Silver went
to Czech Miroslav Zapletal with Slovak co-driver Marek Sikora. The Russian crew of Viktor Khoroshavtsev and Anton Nikolaev got on the third step of the podium.
In the standings of serial cars T2, the Russian crew of Alexey Titov and Andrey Rusov won. The runners-up are Yasir Seidn from Saudi Arabia with his French co-driver Laurent
Lichtleuchter. Bronze went to the crew from Turkmenistan - Shamyrat Gurbanov and Kurbanberdy Danatarov.
In the final standings of the open Russian Championship, Finnish riders Jouni Ampuja and Markku Hurskainen won. Andrei and Vladimir Novikov became runners-up, and Viktor
Khoroshavtsev and Anton Nikolayev got bronze.
The standings of serial cars of the Russian Championship (as well as the World Cup) were won by the crew of Alexei Titov/Andrey Rusov. Konstantin Ivanov and Alexander
Gorkov got on the second step of the podium, third place went to Leonid Petrov and Anton Pletenev.
In the Raid-Sport standings, Mikhail Kostrukov with Oleg Nezhnov in Gazelle Next became the strongest. The only female pilot in the sports channel, the cross-country
star Tatyana Eliseeva together with the co-driver Alexander Semyonov became the runners-up, and the residents of Belgorod Maxim Kirpilev and Pavel Ushakov became
the bronze medalists.
"Northern Forest is my favorite race in the entire Championship of Russia! And in general, I love winter! You enjoy it, and the race itself is very beautiful.
There are a lot of small things that make the race warm and emotional," said Tatyana Eliseeva about her impressions.
The next stage of the World Cup for Cross-Country Rallies will be held in March in Dubai. For more detailed information about the past competitions, visit the
official website of the race at http://www.bajarussia.com/