Vasilyev not retreat: in search of a balance between speed and reliability

The Dubai International Baja 2019 first day has finished today in the United Arab Emirates. The G-Energy Team crew of Vladimir Vasilyev and Konstantin Zhiltsov is participating in it.

In the morning the participants reached the start of the first racing day – 201.60 kilometers by real off-road! However, for security reasons, the organizers changed the usual starting order for scoring categories: the participants in cars and the crews that joined them in small buggies (SSV/UTV) started in front of the motorcycles and quads. Refueling zones are located on the route for the latter, and it would not be safe for too slow motorcyclists to pursue or overtake cars. Thus the drivers of the first starting cars saw the track without any tyre marks.

The starting list for the first day was made in accordance with the interim classification of the off-road standings, so Vladimir Vasilyev and Konstantin Zhiltsov opened the field movement as the FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Bajas leaders. In part, it played not in favor of the maximum possible speed of the local landscape overcoming – the crew stepped up pace as they became acquainted with the opening spaces and in accordance with the changing road conditions. There are no visible roads or a variety of well-groomed directions on the Arabian Peninsula, as it was in Qatar, but there are small dune arrays on the road. And if there was a possible danger of puncturing a tyre on salt marshes or stony hard areas, the sand zones made a different type of risk – to release the accelerator pedal too far so as not to jump from the “step” downwards.

The first day ended with the total domination of the two crews in big “production” buggies – the track host Khalid Al-Qassimi at the wheel of Peugeot 3008 DKR finished the first, and the Pole Jakub Przygonski in Mini JCW Buggy tried his best to keep up with the Arab. Martin Prokop has already mastered the sand and finished the day in the third position of the general classification. Vasilyev and Zhiltsov, who had to “open” the track, crossed the finish line the fourth. The search for correct trajectories that all subsequent crews used with pleasure resulted in a nine-minute backlog from the day leader. The crew of the Lithuanian Benedictas Vanagas finished six seconds behind the Russians, although he started the second.

On Saturday the participants will have an interesting positional fight on the same route: the 50-kilometer liaison from the Dubai Autodrome to the special stage start, its length will be increased by three kilometers and will be 204.93 kilometers. And then return to the Baja finish. The Ceremonial finish of the race is scheduled for 5:00 pm.