Jeeps on the track

Joint stage of Russian and Belarusian championships — Baja Belarus rally-raid — takes place near Polotsk, for the second time

This year, the race united the third round of the Russian Rally Championship and the first stage of the Belarus championship: Baja Belarus 2015. The rally — devoted to the 70th anniversary of the Great Victory — gathered sportsmen from Belarus, Russia, Latvia, Lithuania and Finland.

Belarusian MAZ vehicle under off-road conditions, near Polotsk

Among the participants were some of the world’s strongest jeep and truck crews, many having taken part in the Dakar Rally. In the Т4 Truck category, MAZ, GAZ and KAMAZ entered crews, the latter being among the world’s strongest teams using a natural gas powered vehicle.

‘Baja’ is of Spanish origin, being the name of the shortest rallies (in time and distance). Unlike the famous Dakar, where vehicles travel thousands of kilometres each week, Baja takes place in just three days, racing a loop of 500km. In Belarus, the Dretun former military field was used as the venue. This year, 22 off-road jeeps and five trucks took part. Participants are not acquainted with the track but speed is less important than teamwork and cars’ technical abilities.

In the overall standings, the Moscow team of Vladimir Frolov and Kirill Shubin won, followed by Muscovites Andrey and Vladimir Novikovs. The Minsk team of Sergey Vyazovich, Pavel Garanin and Andrey Zhigulin (for MAZ-SPORTauto) came third. Russians Yevgeny Firsov and Vadim Filatov — driving a Toyota Hilux — were acknowledged as the best team.

By Igor Grishin
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