Posted: September 11, 2012 2:42 PM
Less than two weeks after Czech Republic hosted round nine of the all-action Intercontinental Rally Challenge, the series remains in Eastern Europe for the Prime Yalta Rally in Ukraine’s picturesque Crimea region from 14-16 September.
A new addition to the IRC roster in 2011, the Prime Yalta Rally is one of the most exciting asphalt events of the season with its spectacular waterside service park, demanding stages through the stunning Ai-Petri mountains overlooking Yalta, not to mention the huge following the event attracts from fans.
Famed for its Mediterranean climate and location close to the stunning Black Sea coastline, the Yalta Rally is unique in that two quick-fire stages take place prior to the ceremonial start, albeit a short distance from the event base, on Friday 14 September.
It also covers a tried and tested route with the three different stages on day three virtually identical to the runs used on day two, albeit in a reverse direction.
The Prime Yalta Rally stages are typically fast and flowing, not uncommon with the undulating asphalt roads found in the south of France and similar in places to Giru di Corsica-Tour de Corse, which hosted the fourth round of the IRC earlier this season. Road surfaces are generally smooth, albeit lacking grip, with a good line of sight into the corners that should enable drivers to push to the maximum. However, the asphalt is broken in sections and there is a risk of punctures despite the robust covers produced by the IRC’s tyre partners Michelin and Yokohama.
While temperatures hovered around 25 degrees centigrade when the Yalta Rally took place in June of last year, the mid-September date means that there is a slight question mark about the weather, with rain a possibility.
*Yalta etched its name in history when it hosted the wartime conference between the governments of the United States of America, United Kingdom and Soviet Union to agree Europe’s reorganisation following World War II in February 1945.
*Ukraine is an enthusiastic supporter of the IRC. As well as hosting a round of the series, Dream Team Ukraine is contesting selected events with up to three cars for home talents Vitaliy Pushkar, Oleksandr Saliuk and Oleksiy Tamrazov.
*A father and son will be in action on the Yalta Rally with Marco Tempestini and son Simone Tempestini both competing in Subaru Imprezas.
*Borscht soup is a dish to savour in Ukraine. It’s made from vegetables, including beetroot, and meat.
*Apart from the UEFA Euro 2012 football tournament, the Yalta Rally is Ukraine’s biggest sporting event.
THE BATTLE FOR VICTORY
One of the key features behind the ongoing success of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge is the allowance in the regulations for drivers to pick and choose what events they contest based on budgets and other commitments.
With drivers able to count their best eight scores out of a possible 13 only, defending IRC champion Andreas Mikkelsen has chosen not to include the trip to Yalta in his schedule for 2012 having already contested nine rounds of the series so far this year. But he remains a big fan of the event and the challenge it will present the crews taking part.
“The Tarmac is very different to any other rally I’ve ever done; it’s very slippery in the dry and if it’s wet it will be really tricky,” said the ŠKODA UK Motorsport driver. “The stages are more or less the same as last year, so there are some spectacular stages – especially Ai-Petri. That goes up a big hill and then you go straight into the next stage, Plato, which goes down the hill. These two stages are quite tricky for punctures, but if you stay out of trouble on these two stages I think you’ll have a good chance of scoring a very good result.”
Rashid Al-Ketbi makes a welcome return to IRC action in his Skydive Dubai Rally Team Fabia Super 2000 for what will be his first appearance in Yalta where he will face opposition from rising Finnish talent Mikko Pajunen, who is co-driven by Kimi Räikkönen’s former navigator Kaj Lindström in an M-Sport Ford Fiesta S2000.
Yuriy Protasov will pilot a Fiesta RRC – similar to the car Giandomenico Basso drove to victory on Rally San Marino earlier this year – for the 77 Rally Team, where he will be joined by fellow Ukrainian Yukhym Vazheyevskyy in a Peugeot 207 S2000. Ya?iz Avci, from Turkey, will drive a Fiesta S2000, while László Vizin will compete in Eurosol Racing Team’s Fabia.
IRC Production Cup
The battle for home supremacy will take centre stage in the IRC Production Cup with young talent Vitaliy Pushkar going up against established ace Valeriy Gorban in the showroom category. Pushkar won the IRC Production Cup in impressive fashion on the Sibiu Rally in Romania in July and will once again be a contender for victory in his Dream Team Ukraine Ralliart Mitsubishi Lancer. Gorban, meanwhile, doubles up as the boss of the Mentos Ascania Racing team, which has considerable international competition experience. Romania’s Marco Tempestini will also be one to watch in his Subaru Impreza R4 STI as will Italian veteran Marco Cavigioli and Volodymyr Pechenyk, who claimed IRC Production Cup glory in Yalta last season. Frenchman Robert Consani, who competes under a Ukrainian licence, will also challenge for victory in his Renault Mégane RS.
IRC 2WD Cup
As well as being eligible for IRC Production Cup honours, Robert Consani will be in the hunt for first place in the IRC 2WD Cup. The Renault driver trails Harry Hunt by 26 points after nine rounds but with Hunt not competing in Ukraine, Consani can slash his lead to one point if he wins on his Yalta debut. Romania’s Vlad Cosma and leading female driver Ekaterina Stratieva, from Bulgaria, will also impress as will Honda Civic drivers Ivan Ostapchenko and Alexey Panov. Murat Bostanci, from Turkey, is one of several M-Sport Ford Fiesta R2 drivers taking part, while Giedrius Kriptavicius from Lithuania will be lining up in a Renault Clio.
IN THE SPOTLIGHT: ROBERT CONSANI
Competing under a Ukrainian licence and flying the country’s flag on the side of his Renault Mégane RS, Frenchman Robert Consani will be chasing glory in both the IRC Production Cup and IRC 2WD Cup
What preparations have you done for the Prime Yalta Rally?
“I’ve not been able to do much in terms of testing because we only have a small budget and also it’s quite a complicated event logistically because we go to the Ukraine straight from Czech Republic. We are starting off slowly, trying to understand the terrain and hopefully we will speed up from there.”
What knowledge do you have of the stages?
“I have watched some in-car videos of Thierry Neuville on YouTube and from looking at these it looks like quite a complicated rally with a risk of punctures.”
How important is a strong result following your retirement in Zlín?
“I was very, very disappointed because my co-driver Nicolas Klinger and I had been leading from the start when we had the engine sensor problem and retired. But it doesn’t put any pressure on us to win. However, it does mean I don’t have the possibility to make any mistakes. The object from the start of the year was to win and we showed in Zlín we could be leading. That gives me the confidence that I know I can do it but I have to understand the rally as well.”
You carry the flag of Ukraine on your car. Why is this?
“It’s just for my licence but I must say I have to thank my fellow IRC driver Oleksiy Tamrazov. He has really helped me with some logistical arrangements. If I get a strong result in Ukraine then it’s thanks to him for the help he has given me.”
How would you describe your season so far?
“It’s mixed. We’ve had some good performances but some bad luck as well. I’m happy that I’ve been able to make some progress with the Mégane and it’s shown some good speed when the terrain and weather conditions are right. On the other hand I’m disappointed that some bad luck means our global results are not necessarily a good reflection of the hard work we have done and the potential we have.”
Seeded Entry List
Posted: September 11, 2012 2:42 PM
1 PROTASOV Yuriy/NESVIT Kyrylo (Ford Fiesta RRC)
2 AVCI Yagiz/GÜCENMEZ Bahadir (Ford Fiesta S2000)
3 PAJUNEN Mikko/LINDSTROM Kaj (Ford Fiesta S2000)
4 TAMRAZOV Oleksiy/ARENA Nicola (MINI Cooper SPC)
5 VIZIN Laszlo/ZSIROS Gabor (Skoda Fabia S2000)
6 VAZHEYEVSKYY Yukhym/KOCHKOVYI Yevgen (Peugeot 207 S2000)
7 PUSHKAR Vitaliy/MISHYN Ivan (Mitsubishi EVO X R4)
8 TEMPESTINI Marco/PULPEA Dorin (Subaru Impreza STI R4)
9 CAVIGIOLI Marco/FORTUNATO Monica (Mitsubishi EVO IX R4)
10 CONSANI Robert/KLINGER Nicolas (Renault MEGANE RS)
11 TEMPESTINI Simone/BAGGIO Lucio (Subaru Impreza STI N15)
12 GORBAN Valeriy/NIKOLAIEV Andrii (Mitsubishi EVO IX)
13 KOCHMAR Yurii/KOVAL Sergii (Mitsubishi EVO VIII)
14 SHAPOVALOV Yuriy/SHUMAKOV Liubomyr (Mitsubishi EVO IX)
15 PECHENYK Volodymyr/ROSHCHENKO Andrii (Mitsubishi EVO X)
16 KUZMENKO Anton/LARENS Sergiy (Mitsubishi EVO 9)
17 CHMYKH Mykola/VILCHYNSKYI Olexandr (Subaru Impreza)
18 KRIPTAVICIUS Gledrius/RACAS Gediminas (Renault CLIO SPORT)
19 TANANEVYCH Dmytro/KORSYA Volodymyr (VAZ 2112)
20 RADZIVIL Dmytro/ARTEMOV Viktor (Ford Fiesta)
21 KASIM Yuriy/- (VAZ 2112)
22 PRUSS Stanislav/GORSHKOV Mykhaylo (VAZ 21124)
23 OSTAPCHENKO Ivan/TSYRO Dmytro (Honda Civic)
24 EROKHIN Vadym/KOTSUBAN Stanislav (Honda Civic)
25 NIKOLAENKO Dmytro/PANASENKO Yuriy (Renault Clio RS)
26 COSMA Vlad/DORCA Florin (Citroën C2R2 MAX)
27 APOSTOLYUK Volodymyr/SKOK Sergiy (VAZ 11193)
28 BOSTANCI Murat/VATANSEVER Onur (Ford Fiesta R2)
29 HALFON Eytan/BOSTANCI Sedat (Ford Fiesta R2)
30 TANRIB?L?R Ferhat/KOÇO?LU Burak (Ford Fiesta R2)
31 BESEDIN Stanislav/DONSKIY Olexandr (Ford Fiesta R2B)
32 STRATIEVA Ekaterina/POENARU Carmen (Citroën C2 R2 MAX)
33 PANOV Olexiy/YAKUSHEV Olexandr (Honda Civic Type-R)
34 YUSHKOV Olexandr/KACHKA Denys (Citroën Saxo)
35 BENYAMINOV Dmytro/SNISARENKO Kyrylo (Mitsubishi EVO 8)
36 FELDMAN Oleksandr/RESHETILOV Oleksandr (Subaru Impreza)
37 CHEKAN Sergii/BILOUS Oleksandr (Lancia Delta Integrale)
38 CHORNYY Sergiy/ZAVGORODNIY Oleksandr (Subaru Impreza)
39 CHORNEY Mikhail/STENCHUK Taras (Mitsubishi EVO 9)
40 GANDZHA Borys/POTIYKO Sergiy (Subaru Impreza)
41 LISOVENKO Gennadiy/POSTOVA Yevheniia (Mazda 323)
42 NIKITYUK Mykola/FEDORENKO Dmytro (Subaru Impreza GT)
43 KOPYLETS Pavlo/BORSHCHENKO Yevheniy (Seat Leon)
44 KOROBEYNIKOV Sergiy/MUNTYAN Sergiy (GAZ 2410)
45 PUKHKALOV Sergiy/NESTERENKO Sergiy (VAZ 2108)
46 TOPOR Ruslan/KASAP Dmytro (Opel Kadett)
47 KADUCHENKO Yaroslav/PYSHCHYK Dmytro (Ford Fiesta)
48 GONCHAROV Olexandr/GONCHAROV Volodymyr (Ford Fiesta ST)
49 GONTOVYI Pavlo/VARVARIUK Kostiantyn (Skoda Fabia)
50 IATSIUK Olexiy/AKSONOV Denys (Skoda Fabia)
51 VOLOSHIN Andriy/RATUSHNYI Mykola (VAZ 21081)
52 ROSCHENKO Volodymyr/SULYAYEV Sergiy (Ford Escort)
53 SHEVCHENKO Serhii/NEBESNIY Andrii (Opel Astra)
54 KRYUKOV Sergiy/VAKAL Sergiy (VW Golf)
55 STORCHAK Igor/KRAVCHUK Grigoriy (VAZ 21083)
56 KOBZEV Oleksiy/BELIKOV Maksym (VAZ 1119)
57 VARTANYAN Valeriy/DIMOV Andriy (VAZ 2108)
58 CHERKASOV Oleg/SHARIKOV Fedir (VAZ 2108)
59 ROGOCHIY (J) Olexandr/ROGOCHIY Olexandr (VAZ 2108)
60 MALOV Pavlo/OSTROVSKYY Olexandr (VAZ 21088)
61 BICHENKO Oleksandr/KARAYANI Denys (VAZ 2108)
62 FOROSHCHUK Andrii/ZAPOROZHETS Sergiy (VAZ 2108)
63 KOVALENKO Oleksiy/DYACHUK Andriy (VAZ 2108)
64 LISIY Vadym/DEMENKO Mikhaylo (VW Polo)
65 KOZIN Roman/VANSOVICH Sergii (Honda CRX)
66 KREDENCER Andrij/LUZAN Euvgen (VAZ 2108)
67 KOSTYKOV Sergiy/BOROVYI Andrii (VAZ 2108)
68 REZNIK Dmytro/MEDENCEV Pavlo (VAZ 2108)
69 KOBZEV Olexandr/SIMAKOVYCH Pavlo (VAZ 2108)
70 DOLOT Alex/DOROFEEV Igor (VAZ 2113)
71 ZHURAVLOV Igor/SALEY Valeriy (VAZ 2108)
72 HOROLSKIY Andriy/BONDAR Maksym (ZAZ 1102)
73 SOUSTOVA Lada/SOUSTOVA Alina (ZAZ 1102)