From 24 to 26 February in Karelia, Russia took place this year’s first FIA World Cup and the Russian championship rallyraid "Northern Forest 2017". The event was won by ''RE Autoclub'' crew with Jouni Ampuja and Markku Hurskainen (Mitsubishi MPR 107), who in the overall rankings finished 7 minutes ahead of brothers Novikov from Russia (G-Force BARS).
In the first two days of the competition for leadership positions competed 2 of "RE Autoclub" Finnish crews: Tapio and Toni Lauronens (Mitsubishi L2), and Jouni Ampuja and Markku Hurskainen (Mitsubishi MPR 107). Finnish crews after the first two days of “Northern Forest” showed the fastest and third fastest time in track. Finnish pilots in this snowy icy winter stage feels like home and the crews proved it with the fastest speed, even reaching 175 km/h.
Unfortunately the leading position Lauronens maintained only for the first two days of competition - prologue and two special stages in which the crew overtook second place winners by about 7min, furthermore the last 100 km driving only using the 5th speed. We came to a conclusion at the finish that it is need to change the gearbox. But within the specified time period team unfortunately failed to resolve the problem. The competition for the fastest crew was over.
J. Ampuja in rally raid "Northern Forest" participated from the end lines and the main challenge was to overtake the crews in the front. The Finnish crew in all three stages overtook in total 10 racing cars, losing at least 2 minutes, but still gaining the title of the fastest crew and receiving an invitation to "Silk Way Rally", which provides free membership of the rally marathon, which will take place from 5th to 22nd of July.
"For the second year in a row we got very evocative award for the fastest performance on the track – an invitation to the "Silk Way Rally 2017". This again and again proves that our prepared racing cars are competitive at the international level,” says "RE Autoclub" director Robert Elbakjans.
The first three winners in Russian Championship:
J.Ampuja un M.Hurskainen (Mitsubishi MPR 107) - 4:20:06 (! Fastest crew in overall ranking)
A.Novikov un V.Novikov (G-Force BARS) - 4:27:28 (+0:07:22)
V.Horoshavcev un A.Nikolajev (BMW X3) - 4:44:49 (+0:24:43)
But for our most awarded crew A. Terentyev and A. Berkut from Russia (Ford Raptor F150SVT) the first stage of the competition was a successful by producing the fastest time in T2 class. Later the crew suffered a setback - a technical problem with the fuel supply system. At the last competition day 178 km long stage crew finished successfully, but no longer for expecting the prize.
Rally "Northern Forest" is the only snow and ice-covered rally stage in the FIA World Cup stage of the series. It is the most impressive and most popular rally raid in Russia, where the 408 km long route (1st stage – 103 km, 2nd stage – 125 km, 3rd stage – 178 km) includes the most beautiful and at the same time most cunning roads of Karelia region.