February 22nd 2008, 00:35

Prestart press-conference

Prestart press-conference is always being attended by journalists and official executives. Here you can get all the detailed information about this weekend event.

Konstantin Komkov – press officer of “Northern Forest” Baja:

This race usually opens the seasons and always sets rhythm and style for the whole Championship. It attracts more and more international pilots, and this season it is held as a candidate in the international calendar. If this happens, it will be the first Russian race to be a part of an international series.

This year “Northern Forest” represents 40 crews. All of them have successfully passed the administrative and technical checks. This is a really international race – there are crews from Lithuania, France, Chezh Republic, Ukraine.

Vladimir Korolev – Chairman of the Russian Automobile Federation (RAF)
Rally-raid Committee, chairman of the Board of Sports Commissars:

This race consists of the most prosperous russian rally-raid representatives: Leonid Novitcky – Russian champion, Rally-raid 2007 in Super-Production category; Boris Gadasin – silver winner, Russian Rally-raid Championship 2007, FIA International Cup Winner, Bajas absolute pass. The successful pilot Miroslav Zapletal from Czech Republic, who won Baja in the United Kingdom last year, will also participate in the race. Boris Gadasin held second position on the same Baja in the UK last year. Gadasin and Zapletal had a strong competition there. I think that Yanis Naglis – Latvian pilot who hold the second position of the absolute pass on the last year “Northern Forest” Baja – will be a strong competitor for our pilots (at least, Yanis Naglis promised it by himself). There are also two pilots from France, but they are “black horses”, we still do not have much information about them. However, they told us that they have a good experience in ice-surface car driving.Nowdays Production category is highly developed in Russian rally raiding and this fact led to a strong competition between the pilots. Konstantin Zhiltcov, Russian champion 2007 in the Production category, and other successful pilots will represent themselves this year. National class will be represented by Benyamin Dzhepaev, who fantastically drives his UAZ. Dzhepaev is a unique and really fast pilot. Also we will see repeated russian rally-raid champion, highly qualified sportsman Yury Borovikov, who represents that old elite of Togliatti racing school.  “Northern Forest” is Baja, short rally-raid where pilots try to attack from the first meters of the distance. The intrigue of such short races always keeps till finish. Winter, slippery and wild route. I think that pilots will show us their best skills and professionalism.

Ronan Morgan – FIA observer:

I am looking forward to see this show. It is an extraordinary event for the International Automobile Federation. Usually we do Bajas in deserts, in Europe, in South America and we have never made such International Cup Championship on the snowy surface.I hope that after this week-end we will be able to promote this race to the International Cup Championship. I understand all the difficulties during the organisation of such events and I am ready to help you, to share my experience, to consult and to advise you.

Mark Roi – FIA representative:

Thanks to FIA this race has a chance to be a candidate for the international calendar. We would like to thank FIA for this possibility. We know that Saint-Petersburg is an European city, it takes only 2-3 hours by plane to be in the biggest cities of the Old World – so it is a good place for an international racing, isn’t it? We work very hard in order to make the FIA International Cup for Bajas more interesting. I am happy that Boris Gadasin won the FIA International Cup last year, he is a very fast and experienced sportsman.  

Boris Gadasin – FIA International Cup-winner for Bajas:

Winter rally-raid cars driving is completely different from the standart driving conditions – car is so sliding and flying in winter, that is why crew must understand what is happening with its car each moment. This route is of a high interest: almost half of it consists of wide high speed tests, which requires the full car control and the high car speed, the second part of the route is in a forest with narrow wavy traces and there is a risk to face with a tree. On Saturday we are going to make a one direction circular route and on Sunday a back direction circular route. This strategy makes more difficulties: first day we create a special motion path, but on the next day on our way back this path leads us to the trees that I told you about before. It is very exciting! I suppose our foreign participants will like the route of this year as well. There are not so many experienced pilots who drive in winter.

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