Cross-Country – Alvarez/Monleon claim last minute victory in Kazakhstan | Federation Internationale de l'Automobile

Cross-Country – Alvarez/Monleon claim last minute victory in Kazakhstan

13.06.21

Rally Kazakhstan, Round 2 of the FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Rallies

Lucio Alvarez and Armand Monleón snatched a late victory on Rally Kazakhstan today, the Toyota Hilux Overdrive crew taking the win by 28 minutes and 25 seconds after Mathieu Serradori – who had led from the start – was forced into retirement today. Denis Krotov and Konstantin Zhiltsov claimed second in the MINI John Cooper Works Rally with Mattias Ekström and Emil Bergkvist taking third in similar Buggy machinery.

The fight for victory had looked set to rage between Serradori and Yazeed Al-Rajhi, the Saudi Arabian driver coming to within 22 seconds of the lead after problems in the opening leg. During the fourth stage, however, Al-Rajhi – who won the event in 2018 – broke a drive-shaft and was stuck in the sand after taking the virtual lead midway through the section. A stage win saw the lead held by Serradori and navigator Loic Minaudier again increase and with nearly 23 minutes in hand to Alvarez, the French crew looked on course for victory on Rally Kazakhstan. Today, however, problems in the final stage saw the Century CR6 crew retire within sight of the finish.

Argentinean Lucio Alvarez and Spaniard Armand Monleon therefore claimed a maiden win on the second round of the FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Rallies, with a fine performance throughout. Third going into the penultimate leg, the Toyota crew moved into second after Al-Rajhi’s problems despite a couple of mistakes in the wet selective section. Today, they finished fourth in the final stage to take victory by 28 minutes and 25 seconds.

Krotov, who finished fifth in Kazakhstan in 2019, had a steady run throughout and he and co-driver Zhiltsov overhauled Mattias Ekström in the fourth stage to move from fifth into third despite briefly being stuck in the dunes. Today, the crew admitted it had been a tough day on the cars and tyres in the stony conditions, but one puncture did not stop them claiming their position on the podium. Ekström and Bergkvist have had another great adventure in Kazakhstan and the Swedes took the final podium position in the MINI John Cooper Works Buggy.

The all-French crews of Ronan Chabot and Gilles Pillot were just off the podium in fourth with Austin Jones and Gustavo Gugelmin an impressive fifth overall. The American/Brazilian duo also claimed the win in T4 in their Can Am Maverick X3 by just over 30 minutes, extending Jones’ lead at the head of the overall category standings.

Cristina Gutierrez continued to impress; she went into the event leading the T3 standings by 10 points and has extended that advantage with another category win and sixth overall. A decisive stage win in the penultimate leg meant the Spaniard and French navigator François Cazalet could take a steady run to the finish line to claim a 41 minute category victory in their OT3.

Italians Amos Eugenio and Paolo Ceci finished seventh and second in T4, with four of the five stage wins in the category. Fernando Alvarez/Antonio Gimeno, Pavel Lebedev/Kirill Shubin and Annet Fischer/Filipe Palmeiro rounded out the top 10, all in Can Am Maverick T3 machinery. Yazeed Al-Rajhi bounced back from yesterday’s disappointment to win the final stage, finishing 20th overall.

The third round of the FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Rallies sees the contenders head to new territory as the Silk Way Rally (June 30-July 11) makes its debut on the calendar.

Rally Kazakhstan - Final Classification

1

Lucio Alvarez/Armand Monleon

Toyota Hilux Overdrive

16hr 03min 17sec

2

Denis Krotov/Konstantin Zhiltsov

MINI John Cooper Works Rally

16hr 31min 42sec

3

Mattias Ekström/Emil Bergkvist

MINI John Cooper Works Buggy

16hr 38min 21sec

4

Ronan Chabot/Gilles Pillot

Toyota Hilux Overdrive

17hr 22min 35sec

5

Austin Jones/Gustavo Gugelmin

Can Am Maverick X3 (T4)

17hr 57min 22sec

6

Cristina Gutierrez/François Cazalet

OT3 OT3 (T3)

18hr 12min 33sec

7

Amos Eugenio/Paolo Ceci

Can Am Maverick X3 (T4)

18hr 27min 58sec

8

Fernando Alvarez/Antonio Gimeno

Can Am Maverick (T3)

18hr 53min 36sec

9

Pavel Lebedev/Kirill Shubin

Can Am Maverick (T3)

19hr 03min 52sec

10

Annet Fischer/Filipe Palmeiro

Can Am Maverick X3 (T3)

19hr 35min 45sec