South Racing’s double podium on Rally dos Sertões, Brazil
SOUTH RACING’S VARELA AND ALVAREZ CLAIM STUNNING SECOND AND THIRD PLACES BEHIND BAUMGART IN RALLY DOS SERTÕES
BONITO (BRAZIL): South Racing claimed a double podium finish in Brazil’s daunting Rally dos Sertões, a gruelling seven-day cross-country rally that started in Goiânia on August 20th and finishes in Bonito on Saturday (August 26th).
The Brazilian crew of Reinaldo Varela and Gustavo Gugelmin delivered a solid performance to bring their Divino Fogäo Rally Team Ford Ranger, managed by South Racing, to the finish in second position – a mere 6min 44sec behind race winner Cristian Baumgart.
Spaniard Fernando Alvarez and Argentinean navigator Juan-Pablo Monasterolo capped a memorable week for South Racing by guiding the brand new Conarpesa-backed Volkswagen Amarok to a fine third position.
“This was a great result for the team,” enthused South Racing’s managing director Scott Abraham. “Reinaldo did as much as he could and managed to claw back 10 minutes on the last day. Also, for Fernando to finish in third place with a brand new car out of the box was great for the team. Now we head straight to Ruta 40 and Baja Poland.
“It was a difficult race, but a lot of fun. The cars ran faultlessly and we didn’t have any technical issues at all. Unfortunately the time lost on the first stage was difficult to make up but we were competitive the whole rally.”
The competitive action got underway on August 19th with a timed Prologue stage in Goiânia. Local driver Guilherme Spinelli claimed the fastest time of 3min 42.61sec to hold the advantage in deciding starting positions for the first of the selective sections of 306.82km between Goiânia and Goianésia on August 20th.
Alvarez started cautiously in the new Amarok and recorded the eighth quickest time of 4min 01.53sec, while Varela was just under three seconds behind in 10th in the Ford Ranger. Cristian Baumgart won the first of the stages in a time of 4hrs 06min 12.48sec, as Varela carded the third fastest time and Alvarez was sixth.
Teams then headed from Goianésia to Santa Terezinha de Goiás on August 21st. Baumgart again claimed the quickest time on the two parts of the selective section, as Varela and Alvarez were third and fifth to move into similar positions in the general classification.
The route headed on to Aruanã the following day and Spinelli won the two sections of the special stage, as Varela and Alvarez recorded the second and fourth quickest times. Spinelli was quickest again on the run into Barra do Garça the next day, while Varela and Alvarez were fourth and eighth.
The route for day five left Barra do Garça in the direction of Coxim and the South Racing duo slotted into third and fifth on the two competitive sections in the day’s route of 666.01km. It meant that Baumgart headed into the final two days with an advantage of 15min 25sec over Varela, with Alvarez in third position.
Leg six ran for 429.45km between Coxim and Aquidana and Spinelli again carded the quickest time of 2hrs 01min 33.12sec for the two timed sections of the day’s route, as Varela and Alvarez settled into fourth and fifth places on the day.
It meant that Baumgart took a lead of 16min 21sec over Varela into the final stage between Aquidana and the rally finish in Bonito, an ecotourism hub in the Mato Grosso do Sul state.
Spinelli managed to hold off Varela to win the stage by 2min 13sec, but the second quickest time meant that the South Racing driver closed the gap on Baumgart at the top of the rankings to just 6min 44sec. Alvarez confirmed third position with the seventh quickest time.
25th Rally dos Sertões – final positions:
1. Cristian Baumgart (BRA)/Beco Andreotti (BRA) Ford Ranger 21hrs 28min 38.52sec
2. Reinaldo Varela (BRA)/Gustavo Gugelmin (BRA) South Racing Ford Ranger 21hrs 35min 23.37sec
3. Fernando Alvarez (ESP)/Juan Pablo Monasterolo (ARG) Volkswagen Amarok 23hrs 28min 14.17sec
4. Michel Terpins (BRA)/Maykel Justo (BRA) T-Rex 24hrs 08min 15.99sec
5. Guilherme Spinelli (BRA)/Youssef Haddad (BRA) Mini All4 Racing 24hrs 28min 57.33sec
6. Glauber Fontoura (BRA)/Minae Miyauti (BRA) Triton L200 RS 24hrs 38min 10.89sec
7. Sylvio de Barros (BRA)/Rafael Capaoini (BRA) Mini All4 Racing 25hrs 07min 06.92sec