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Cross Country – Russians lock-out the leaderboard

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Baja Russia - Northern Forest - Round 1 of the FIA World Cup for Cross Country Bajas

Vladimir Vasilyev and Vitaliy Yevtyekhov today claimed outright honours on Baja Russia - Northern Forest, the opening round of the FIA World Cup for Cross Country Bajas. The Russians won four of the five selective sections to claim a home victory on the only snow and ice round of the series. Fellow countrymen Andrey and Vladimir Novikov brought their G-Force BARS car home in second position ahead of Denis Krotov/Dmytro Tsyro, giving the BMW X3 two of the three top positions.

Held in the north-west Leningrad region, Baja Russia - Northern Forest took the contenders over previously unused tracks, providing an open challenge over 378.84 kilometres of competition and five selective sections. Friday’s Qualifying Stage may have only been 3.5 kilometres in length, but the tricky nature of the short section saw many of the crews make small mistakes. Despite clipping a barrier, Vasilyev took the early honours and led the crews into the forest roads of the Priozersky and Vyborgsky districts on Saturday.

The Russian finished second in SS2 to last year’s winner Tapio Lauronen, opening the snowy forest road where he was the first to define the track. In the repeated afternoon section conditions were more equal and the 2013 World Cup event winner and 2014 champion bounced back to take the stage win in his BMW X3. Today, Vasilyev was fast but mindful of avoiding problems over two runs through the reversed section, rewarding him with two more stage victories and another win on home territory.

Andrey and Vladimir Novikov, who won the production category in 2013, claimed second after consistent placings within the top four in each of the sections. The duo dropped time in SS3 with a loss of studs in the tyres and were careful to avoid punctures today in the more icy conditions. The BMW X3 crew of Denis Krotov and Dmytro Tsyro were also regular top five finishers and reached the end in a fine third overall.

Former national rally champion Sergey Uspenskiy, co-driven by Marina Danilova, claimed fourth in a Nissan NP 300 Pick Up. The Russian lost time in SS2 when he was forced to stop and change a wheel and then lost a lot of studs in today’s opening section. He completed the rest of the day without problems, enjoying the mix of conditions on his home round of the FIA World Cup.

Fedor Vorobyev and Kirill Shubin maintained their fine form in the T3 category. Vorobyev, who won last year’s T3 Trophy for Drivers, finished fifth overall with his winning co-driver and claimed the category victory in his Can-Am Maverick X3 ahead of fellow compatriots Aleksei Shmotev/Andrei Rudnitski, who rounded out the top six in similar machinery. 

Victory in the T2 category was taken by Aldis Vilcans and Alexandr Gorkov. Vilcans won last year’s Trophy for T2 Drivers and claimed a second consecutive category win in Russia in his Toyota after dropping time with technical problems yesterday.

The second round of the FIA World Cup for Cross Country Bajas takes the contenders to the deserts of Dubai (2-4 April) for the first of two Middle Eastern events on the calendar.

Baja Russia - Northern Forest – Official Final Classification


Vladimir Vasilyev/Vitaliy Yevtyekhov


4hr 27min 44sec


Andrey Novikov/Vladimir Novikov

G-Force BARS

4hr 45min 34sec


Denis Krotov/Dmytro Tsyro


4hr 56min 13sec


Sergey Uspenskiy/Marina Danilova

Nissan NP 300 Pick Up

4hr 56min 35sec


Fedor Vorobyev/Kirill Shubin

Can-Am Maverick X3

4hr 58min 10sec


Aleksei Shmotev/Andrei Rudnitski

Can-Am Maverick X3

5hr 15min 23sec


Aleksei Ignatov/Evgeny Pavlov

GAZ Gazelle Next

5hr 23min 51sec


Tatiana Sycheva/Aleksandr Alekseev

Can-Am Maverick X3

5hr 30min 44sec


Aldis Vilcans/Alexandr Gorkov

Toyota LC 200

5hr 44min 48sec


Enrique Reyes Medina/Daniel Conde Donaire

Can-Am Maverick X3

5hr 48min 46sec