|Protastov on top as Rally Class sets standard in Greece|
|Geschreven door Symtech/PB|
|Monday, 4 June 2012|
Yuriy Protasov has once again underlined the competitive nature of the
Rally Class category and the durability of the Symtech Racing Subaru
He used used as standard in the new-for-2012 Rally Class series, by winning Class 3 of the Acropolis Rally in Greece last week by a margin of more than one minute.
Despite its reputation as one of the toughest events in the World Rally Championship due to the punishing nature of the rock-strewn roads and high ambient temperatures, Protasov, from Ukraine, enjoyed a trouble-free run to top the Rally Class division in 13th overall and first in Class 3, even ahead of the first PWRC cars. Mexican Ricardo Trivino took second in Rally Class in 16th overall with Indonesia's Rifat Sungkar securing third place in 20th position. Andis Neiksans was unfortunately forced to retire with one stage remaining due to suspension damage.
Fresh from his victory on the inaugural Rally Class event in Portugal in late March, Yuryi Protasov was in contention for more success from the opening stage in Greece alongside co-driver Kyrylo Nesvit. Despite the unforgiving gravel roads, Protasov set a strong pace from the start and benefited from the strength, durability and speed of his Symtech-built Impreza, which ran faultlessly throughout the competitive distance of 409.47 kilometres. He duly claimed his second Rally Class victory with some ease following another impressive display.
"I am really pleased to take my second Rally Class win on such a tough event as the Acropolis Rally," said Protasov. "To win you need a car that's well built to withstand the rough stages, but fast enough for the quick sections. We had no dramas, no problems with the car thanks to Symtech Racing and I was able to set some fast times. Winning Group N as well ahead of the first Production Car World Rally Championship finisher is also special so I am very pleased. It's been a great start to the season. I can't wait now until the next round in Germany in August."
After overcoming a few mechanical problems on the second day of the rally, Ricardo Trivino clinched the Rally Class runner-up spot to add to his third-place finish in Portugal. Co-driven by Spaniard Alex Haro, this was a fine effort by Trivino who also celebrated finishing third in the Production Car World Rally Championship Rally Class crews had the option of registering for PWRC points as well at the start of the season.
Rifat Sungkar, a multiple drifting champion from Indonesia, fought back from an off-road incident, the result of an incorrect pace note, on day one to secure third in Rally Class. Fortunately his car sustained only light damage and he was able to negotiate the stages on Saturday and Sunday without incident.
There was frustration for Andis Neiksans who, after stopping on day one with a broken driveshaft, the legacy of his competitive driving style, restarted on day two and set several impressive stage times. Unfortunately, a rear-right suspension arm broke on the penultimate stage on Sunday having endured one impact too many on the fearsome Greek bedrock.
"This was another great event for the Rally Class category and congratulations to all our crews," said Symtech Racing's Dirk Van der Sluys. "We proved once again how competitive the Rally Class cars are compared to the PWRC machines. Indeed, of the 22 stages a Rally Class car was fastest in Group N eight times, and we were 19 times in the top 3 of all gr N cars. And for a budget of 260,000 Euros for a season and a prize drive in a Subaru Impreza R4 on five rallies next season, Rally Class is excellent value for money." Next up for the Rally Class crews is ADAC Rallye Deutschland from 24-26 August.
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