News / 26 May 2004
Khazarean Steppes 2004 – Lyert Cup
From May 20 through 23 the 2nd Stage of all-Russia baja rally raids Championship named “Khazarean Steppes – “Lyert” Cup took place in Narimanovski and Yenotayevski districts of Astrakhan oblast. The event was organized by “Geo-Raid” team and supported by Astrakhan city and oblast administrations.
On May 21 the inauguration of the 2nd Stage of all-Russia baja rally raids Championship, the “Khazarean Steppes – “Lyert” Cup was organized in Astrakhan’s Central Square. The racers were addressed and welcomed by the province governor, the city mayor and chief of the traffic police (GIBDD) of Astrakhan oblast.
The start signal was fired 35 km away from the city. 50 crews from Moscow, Moscow oblast, Saint Petersburg, Rostov-on-the-Don, Togliatti, Ulianovsk, Novokuznetsk, Naberezhnye Chelny, Kiev and Astrakhan crossed the start line. It should be noted that, apart from the traditional vehicle classes for such Championships: the production, super production and national, 3 trucks representing the “KAMAZ-Master” team, winner of “Paris-Dakar” rally raids, also took part in the race.
All in all there were 7 teams entered on the roster: Krasmotorsport, R-Jazz, Geo-Raid, Yarovit-Rosagroleasing, Nart-Time, VMP Racing Team and Business Car-Castrol Racing.
Within the three days of the race the sportsmen covered almost 1400 km of the most complicated sand-and-clay track abundant in poor-visibility navigation legs: the 350-km long high-speed strip called “Classica”, the 580 km-long “Stalker” and 230 km-long “Bonus”. The length of the “Stalker” alone by far surpassed the average length of the high-speed strips of “Paris-Dakar” rally.
Within the framework of this year’s All-Russia Cup the “Khazarean Steppes – “Lyert” Cup” received the highest complexity rating of 1.5. After the finish line this decision looked more than justified: only 17 crews managed to negotiate the entire track.
For YAROVIT – ROSAGROLEASING team the event did not turn out to be the luckiest one. Out of the five crews that crossed the start line only the duet of Dmitri Kozhukhov and Andrei Borodin went through the finish. Technical problems besetting the vehicles manned by A.Birukov/D.Kniga and L.Novitski/O.Tupenkin prevented them from contributing the precious points to the team’s effort. While the referees’ blunders, discriminating against the two remaining crews (V.Tupenkin/A.Neshin and S.Schkel/Yu.Lopatin) stripped the team of the possibility to be on the event leaders’ short list.
Alexei Berkut won the race leaving all the others trailing far behind. Konstantin Zhiltsov crossed the finish line next, with a two-minute edge on Sergei Girya. Vladimir Chagin, the pilot of KAMAZ and several times winner of “Paris-Dakar” rallies, came fourth. It should be noted that on the first day he started the last and thus managed to overtake practically all the competitors. It is significant that his also many times titled team-mate Ilgizar Mardeyev showed only the 7th result. Boris Gadasin who became winner in the production class, was 5th overall. Alexander Miroshnik who finished 8th overall, became winner in the national class.
Absolute category (all winners participated in the super production class):
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