Baja: J.Sazonov and D.Tsyro make rapid progress on Italian stages

© DR

Fresh from taking a superb victory in last week’s Desafio Ruta in Argentina, German-based car preparation company South Racing managed Kazakh driver Juriy Sazonov and his Ukrainian navigator Dimitro Tsyro to a fine seventh overall in this weekend’s Italian Baja, round four of the FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Rallies.


Some members of the South Racing team made the frantic dash from northwest Argentina to work with Sazonov and his Mobilex Racing Team to run the Mobilex Racing Ford Ranger prepared and run by DMAS South Racing on the demanding Baja-type event in Italy that was based in the town of Pordenone.

“It has been a great way to end a hard 10 days of global cross-country rallying and it clearly shows the depths and resources of the South Racing team,” said South Racing’s managing director Scott Abraham. “Juriy and Dimitro did a great job all weekend and the Ford Ranger ran perfectly through all the stages. It’s great to see all the development paying off. Once again, the team did a fantastic job and now we have a few days before heading to the Silk Way Rally.”

Sazonov made a solid start but frustrating start to his challenge for honours in the Italian event at the wheel of the Mobilex Racing Ranger. He settled into 18th position in the 10.27km super special stage at Cordenons after being stuck behind slower competitors for seven kilometres.

Crews then tackled the 74.40km of the Arzena stage on two occasions on Saturday and dust was a problem for the crews following behind, especially with the one-minute intervals for the lower order drivers. Sazonov clocked a time of 57min 29sec and that was sufficient for the Kazakh to climb to 15th in the overall standings.

He improved his pace by 2min 26sec on the second run through the stage and that performance was rewarded with the ninth fastest time that moved the Kazakh driver up to 12th position at the overnight halt.

The final two stages took place between San Lorenzo and Ponte della Delizia, prior to the stage arrivals in Zoppola and the ceremonial finish in Pordenone. The special ran for 74.50km and was the same as the day before, but run in reverse in muddy and wet conditions.

Sazonov was in superb form on the first run through Rauscedo and the seventh quickest time catapulted the Ford Ranger driver into eighth. He went one better on the final run through the muddy and saturated special and the sixth quickest time was enough for the Kazakh to guide the DMAS South Racing Ford Ranger into seventh position at the finish.

South Racing was founded in 2013. Based near Frankfurt in Germany, the young, customer-driven team also has workshops in Portugal and has extensive experience of the Dakar Rally and rallying in South America. The team’s attention now switches to the Silk Way Rally and Baja Spain in July.

2016 Italian Baja – positions after SS5:
1. Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah (QAT)/Matthieu Baumel (FRA) Toyota Hilux Overdrive, 3hr 37min 13sec
2. Vladimir Vasilyev (RUS)/Konstantin Zhiltsov (RUS) BMW X3, 3hr 39min 22sec
3. Boris Gadasin (RUS)/Alexei Kuzmich (RUS) G-Force Proto NL, 3hr 42min 55sec
4. Marek Dabrowski (POL)/Jacek Czachor (POL) Toyota Hilux Overdrive, 3hr 43min 08sec
5. Bryce Menzies (USA)/Tom Colsoul (BEL) Mini All4 Racing, 3hr 43min 55sec
6. Yazeed Al-Rajhi (SAU)/Timo Gottschalk (DEU) Mini All4 Racing, 3hr 49min 15sec
7. Yuriy Sazonov (KAZ)/Dmytro Tsyro (UKR) DMAS South Racing  Ford Ranger, 3hr 55min 11sec
8. Jordi Gaig (ESP)/Alex Astudillo (ESP) Mini One, 3hr 55min 19sec…

Neil Perkins,