Press Release
February, 13 2022
Vladimir Vasilyev wins Baja Russia Northern Forest!

The crew of Vladimir Vasilyev and Oleg Uperenko won the Baja Russia Northern Forest, the starting round of the FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Bajas, the first round of the Russian Cross-Country Championship and the FIA Eurasia Zone Cross-Country Rally Cup. Vasilyev became a record holder – now he has four victories here!

According to the results of the previous two days of Baja, the crew of the Vasilyev Racing Team was in second place, 49 seconds behind the Polish crew of driver Tomasz Bialkowski and co-driver Dariusz Baskiewicz. On Sunday the Russian launched a winning attack and, having set the best time at each of the two-day special stages, left no chance for his rivals.

Bialkowski could not keep the “silver” either – however, it’s not a sin to lose to such an opponent at Russian special stages with snow and ice cover: the crew of Sergey Uspensky and Marina Danilova outpaced him. The sixteen-time Champion of Russia in motorsports won back the gap from the closest rival and finished the race in the second position in the overall standings - this is the best result of a Moscow driver in the history of participation in cross-country rallies!
And after the finish, at in-depth scrutineering, it turned out that the Polaris of the Polish racers did not meet the technical requirements and they were disqualified. Thus, the “bronze” of the overall standings went to Anastasia Nifontova and Ekaterina Zhadanova – they also won the T3 light prototypes standings. Sergei Remennik and Yaroslav Fedorov, who finished the fourth, not only became the most successful debutants of the race, but also won the T4 SSV standings.

Argentines Fernando Alvarez and Jose Luis Dias are in fifth place. They left behind two Russian crews of Vadim Fedotov and Alexander Kupriyanov, Pavel Silnov and Kirill Shubin, the Spaniards Miguel Angel Valero and Jaqueline Ricci, as well as a mixed crew of Saudi Arabian driver Saleh Al-Saif and Russian co-driver Egor Okhotnikov.

Unfortunately, Yazeed Al-Rajhi did not start on the final day of the Baja Russia Northern Forest. The racer, who retired on Saturday due to a breakdown of the lower arm of the front suspension, was going to take part in the Sunday special stages, but at the very last moment he refused.
Vladimir Vasilyev, driver, It was very challenging to drive in the morning – slippery, snowy, there was a whiteout, snow and little to see. It’s not easy to drive first; when you go first, everything is white, if it’s also snowing, then you don’t see far. In the desert there is such a drifting sand, but here it is snow. It melts into background. You approach the corner and don’t understand the clear distance. In fact, there is no difference in sports driving on different surfaces – you drive a car, but any surface is a different feeling and you need to have skills both on sand and on snow. Yesterday’s penalization upset us, but added intrigue and excitement. The second special stage was cool, although in the morning there was a lot of snow, it was slippery, so it was hard to drive first, but it was fun. And I can’t say bad things about the race (laughing), I’m the race organizer, of course, it’s a great race! I like it, every year I start in it and enjoy it. The car is good today. There were no jumps, so everything is in place and everything is undamaged”.

Sergei Remennik, driver, “We are at the finish line – the goal has been achieved! That’s what we did, it was cool. I can say that I enjoyed driving the long stages and I think we will continue. These were the first cross-country rallies in my life. Yaroslav and I have so far driven the longest special stages, probably only in Finland – there is a special stage "Ouninpohja", about 30 kilometers. Yaroslav has experience in Corsica, where the special stages are 50 kilometers long. But there has never been such an experience of 120 kilometers until now, now there is. It is very interesting from the point of view of how to prepare yourself, to count your strength for such a distance. I understand that this is not the longest distance, as in multi-day marathons. Experienced racers say that at the Baja Russia Northern Forest the advantage is on the side of the classic rally drivers and I agree with them. I only missed the usual notes, because in some places it was possible to push hard from jumps to closed corners. Because you leave the corner and you understand that you could put pressure on the gas to the last there. But, as my senior comrades told me, the cross-country rallies principle is: “if you don’t see, you don’t drive”.  Well, I tried not to drive if I didn’t see it”.

Anastasia Nifontova, driver, “We drove back-and-forth – we drove the third in a row, there was a lot of snow; at first it seemed ok, but I think that we lost a lot at the last section. There was a snow slush and no grip at all – the car slipped; the studs didn’t work – they couldn’t find a hard surface. I was driving very carefully, as the track is narrow. It’s good that we finished and didn’t stick in a snowdrift, didn’t lose a lot of time. Now we still have the opportunity to play back a little bit on the second pass, because there is no that section with the loose snow. Our main rival, as I understand, is Sergei Remennik – we have some seconds of difference and everything is very interesting. The results in the overall standings are very close too – Sergey Uspensky also has a 3-second difference. The level of rivals delights me! I think that such the results are so close also due to the features of the track - it is narrow and twisted, where it is difficult for large cars to show off. There are straights where T1 will win, and in narrow paths the compactness of the car is more advantageous – this is about T3 and T4. The snow interferes a little bit, everything is white, but we see everything in general. But somewhere we have to slow down a little bit earlier in order to understand whether this is a corner or a straight”.

Fernando Alvares, driver, The special stage went well, some sections were very fast, some were twisty. Sometimes the car front becomes more “fidgety” and it becomes slippery for us. It’s not easy to find the right pace. We started the sixth overall and the second in T3, and still secure these positions. This is good, because there are so many fast Russians here! I don’t think all of them will continue to participate in the FIA World Cup, so it’s important for me to get the maximum number of points. I will try to keep the right pace, paying attention to everything, and avoid any damage”.

Vadim Fedotov, driver, “Visibility is ok, the special stage is excellent – there are fast and dynamic slides, but for the third day we have been fighting with all-wheel drive to keep it that way. At the Prologue everything broke down and nothing happened, yesterday everything seemed to work, and today we have left, there was a click, bam-bam, and everything stopped working again. We drove with rear-wheel drive, as on the first day, pretending to be experienced drifters. But in every corner, we understood how many precious seconds we lose literally on every meter. So, the task now is just to drive the final special stage with all these nuances and to keep the position, because it seems like we even have a chance for the podium”. 

Official website
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Competition name: Baja Russia Northern Forest

  • 1st round of the FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Bajas
  • 1st round of the Russian Cross-Country Championship
  • 1st round of the Eurasia Cup
  • regularity rally

Dates: 10-13 February, 2022
Place: Leningrad Region
Headquarters: IGORA DRIVE

Credits: @bajarussia


If you have any questions, please, contact:

Lina Arnautova
+7 921 939 01 49

Olga Eremeva
+7 931 291 44 25

TAGS    #bajarussia    #northernforest    #bajarussia2022

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