The Italian round of WRC did not bend the knee to Nikolay Gryazin and Yaroslav Fedorov: a good race was spoiled by the retirement on the second day of the race.
A week later after the first taste of the gravel WRC event in Portugal, our crew went to the Mediterranean island of Sardinia – towards to the traditionally "killer" special stages and extreme heat.
Nikolay and Yaroslav started the Italian race with the fastest time on the super special stage in Ittiri. The SRT crew was the first in the RC2 and WRC 2 standings.
However, our guys had lost their leadership during the morning SS2 on Friday – mostly due to the dust haze over the track, left by one of the rivals, who stopped at the special stage to replace a punctured tire. Later, the stewards compensated 50 seconds from a lost minute.
During Friday Nikolay and Yaroslav were on the track of Pierre-Louis Loubet, who started in Sardinia for the fourth time. Despite some technical problems – gearbox overheat in the morning loop and shock absorber damage on the SS5 – the crew managed to win one more special stage and finish that day second in WRC 2.
Unfortunately, the first special stage of Saturday put an end to Nikolay and Yaroslav's hopes to fight for victory in Sardinia. In 10 km after the start, the crew hit a stone in the right turn, damaged the suspension and retired. The engine was also seriously damaged in the accident which already became evident in the service park: the driveshaft made a hole in the engine block. After that, there was not any chance left to continue the race.
"Rally Italia Sardegna indeed went not as we expected before the start, and I am very frustrated with my mistake. It's a pity we didn't manage to drive the full distance, and unfortunately, we couldn't return to the race by Rally 2: after the retirement, we still had a set of fresh tires and desire to show our maximum speed on special stages.
Nevertheless, we can be pleased with the pace on the first day, and with the fact that we lose only to the experienced driver, who had already started this rally for three times. The only thing left is to thank our fans for their support and look forward to the next start in the WRC."
Next round of the WRC in Nikolay Gryazin and Yaroslav Fedorov's program is Rally Finland in August. Before that the Russian crew will start in Rally Estonia: this race will take place 12-14 July.
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