Rally / 28 April 2013

SATA RALLYE ACORES - The survival of Zoltan Bessenyey

After nineteen extremely difficult Special Stages behind the wheel of their Eurosol-Honda Civic Type R, Zoltan Bessenyey and co-driver Yulianna Nyirfas reigned supreme this weekend, clinching 1st place in the 2WD category of the SATA Rallye A?ores, the fourth round of the European Rally Championship. The win means the pair strengthen their lead in the 2WD Drivers Championship.

Commenting after the rally, the Honda driver said: ?After the recce, we knew what we were up against and decided not to take any unnecessary risks. A few competitors chose a different strategy though, who wanted to trigger a war. Their wish was granted and we survived the battle that ensued by driving rationally. And then there was the exceptional weather ??

Fog, mud, wet gravel, rain; the conditions of the first ?full? day of competition were horrendous.

?It was downright dangerous,? exclaimed Zoltan in the service park at the harbour of Ponta Delgada. ?The fact that we made it to the finish line is a miracle in itself, let alone for us to win. It was very difficult and at some places we had zero visibility. It was a real struggle driving through the fog and that amount of mud. The road was very slippery too. A true hell!?

It?s no surprise then that this European round on the mid-Atlantic archipelago claimed more than one victim; only seven from the sixteen starters in 2WD category reached the finish line on Saturday...

Neubauer, one of Honda driver Bessenyey?s biggest rivals, slipped off the road mid way through the first day, blocking the way for the other participants. The 8th Special Stage was therefore stopped and the other crews turned back, using an alternative road and given notional time. The weather got worse and conditions deteriorated in such a way that the organisers were left with no other decision than to cancel the last 12th Special Stage, due to safety reasons!

Zoltan Bessenyey and co-driver Yulianna Nyirfas didn?t look back to the misery of their competitors, because they finished with a well-deserved 3rd place behind Hannes Danzinger and Diogo Gago.

?Despite the weather, there wasn?t anything to report: the car didn?t give in and that was because we had the right set-up and the right tyre choice. This was all thanks to Lorenzo ?magic bowl? Borghini, the chief-mechanic of J.A.S Motorsport, who operates Honda Racing Customer Support. But also Yulianna too, who helped us survive the heavy day unscathed. She literally dragged me through the thick fog. Nicely done!?

The weather improved for the start of the final day and the last of the seven special stages. It looked like winning was a beyond the reach of the Hungarian duo though, with Danzinger far in front and local driver Gago in second, who knows the stages in this area extremely well.

?The difference was just too big. I couldn?t catch up with them so I chose to play it safe and secure 3rd place.? said the Hungarian. ?That?s why we decided to replace the alternator, so we could finish the last three stages without problems. The fact that Danzinger slipped off the track and that Gago committed an error in the ultimate stage, played to our advantage, but we survived by driving with our brains and reached the finish. That?s the triumph of common sense!? 

The next round of the European Rally Championship is the 56th ?Giru di Corsica-Tour de Corse?, known as the ?rally of 10.000 Corners?. But the Hungarian couple Zoltan and Yulianna will be absent, skipping the French classic to concentrate on the second half of the ERC season.

2WD Drivers, after 4 rounds: 1. Zoltan Bessenyey (H) 88; 2. St?phane Lefebvre (F) 55; 3. Hannes Danzinger (A) 50; 3. Gorka Antxustegi (E) 39; 4 Risto Immonen (FIN) 39; 5. Elwis Chentre (I) 38.

2WD Co-Drivers: 1.Yulianna Nyirfas (H) 88; 2. Thomas Dubois (F) 55; 3. Katharina W?stenhagen (D) 50; 3. Alberto Iglesias (E) 39; 4. Mikko Lukka (FIN) 39; 5. Bernhard Ettel (A) 31  

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