Rally / 30 July 2013
ERC - Zoltan Bessenyey Strengthens His Lead in 2WDZoltan Bessenyey and co-driver Yulianna Nyirfas can be pretty happy with their very first experience of the Sibiu Rally, the 7th round of the European Rally Championship; three victories out of the thirteen special stages, sixth place overall and a total of 12 points all helped to strengthen their leading position in the 2WD Driver?s Championship.
However, it wasn?t an easy weekend. The rally, which winds through the breath-taking forests of the Romanian countryside, is renowned for its demanding gravel roads. And during the second special stage the sharp surface almost got the better of the Eurosol Honda Civic Type R. During the famous Crinit stage, 28,70 km long, a puncture caused the Hungarian driver to drop back to 13th place ?
?The clock was ticking whilst we replaced the tyre, so we lost eight minutes of time,? explained a disappointed Zoltan afterwards. ?We also heard a strange noise from the exhaust too??
It turned out that the Civic Type R had made contact with a rock in the same stage, breaking the exhaust.
?It took a while before we found the crack, but when we did we knew the exhaust had to be completely replaced,? added Mads Fischer, Customer Service Manager of J.A.S Motorsport, who operates Honda Racing Customer Support. ?But with two minutes left of our permitted service time, we all pulled together to get the Civic back on the course.?
With the car fixed Zoltan set off at a blistering pace, setting the third fastest time in the subsequent stage and also the second passage of the ?Crinit?. In the penultimate stage of Day 1, the Hungarian went even faster, finding himself the fastest of the twelve participants in 2WD. He ended the first day of competition with the second best time and had moved up to 7th place in 2WD, providing Bessenyey with a bonus point.
?We thought we knew what to expect in Romania, but the reality surprised us all. I didn?t think the gravel would be that bad and the fact that it punished us so early was a big reality check. It hurt even more as Korn?l Lucacs, our direct rival in the 2WD Championship, set the fastest time at the same stage. One stage later the tables were turned though: we became third and he got stuck with a puncture himself?? says Zoltan. ?The puncture and cracked exhaust was a real shame. If we could have erased those lost 8 minutes then we definitely had a fighting chance for second place. But it wasn?t to be. Instead we didn?t have any other choice than to keep going, trying to improve our position stage after stage. Our performance after the puncture was really encouraging though and enabled us to be the fastest on this kind of rally for the first time this year. It was hugely satisfying and we couldn?t have done it without the boys of Eurosol and J.A.S. Motorsport. With great pleasure, we dedicate our points to them!?
The final word on this exhausting Sibiu Rally goes to Mads Fischer, who counselled the Hungarian duo perfectly.
?Finishing this rally on the unforgiving gravel was a very difficult assignment. As driver, you need to drive with your head, but even then everything can still go wrong - you need a lot of luck. We all went to extremes and Zoltan and Yulianna drove the Civic unharmed till the finishing line. In Day 2 they climbed up to 5th place and took three bonus points, plus eight points for the final 6th position: mission accomplished!?
The next round of the ERC will take place at the end of August with the Barum Rally. The Czech classic is driven completely on tarmac in the neighbourhood of Zlin.