Winter rally marathon has started!
Inessa Tushkanova and Dmitry Chumak took part in Halls Winter Rally 2015 – the integrated round of Lithuania and Belarus Rally Championship. The result of rejoined crew is worth admiring: the 2nd place in class N4 (2) and the 6th place in overall standings!
The rally consisted of two days, and the crew had to pass stages night and day. Inessa tested the car before the race trying to remember driving basics after a six-month break. She also actively prepared recalling how to make notes in Russian: the female driver spent previous rallies with Polish co-driver Camille Heller, so the crew made notes in English. This season the right seat is occupied by the master of rally sports Dmitry Chumak, and there is no necessity in English notes.
Inessa Tushkanova: A decision to go to Lithuanian rally has come spontaneously, and I got my training car just 2 weeks before the race! We bought it in Latvia and I was looking forward to the new season. At the same time I suddenly received a message from Dmitry Chumak, saying “Let’s go racing!”. As on that day I got a rejection of my wonderful co-driver Camille Heller, who could not start with me because of the contract in Subaru Team Poland, a message from Dmitry came on time!
This is a great option, because we have already taken part in some races with Chumak couple of years ago, he knows me, my driving technique and my notes. It would not be easy to get used to a new
person, and learn to trust again, but Dmitry is almost close to me. I am very glad he could recover so quickly after the summer accident..
It shaped well, and we went to Finland with the training car, the competitive car and the co-driver for a series of short tests to get used to each other and remember the notes in Russian.
We had planned a series of winter races and decided to open this winter marathon with Halls Winter Rally. The race is comming before the quite serious round in Latvia, where we participate this week, so rally in Lithuania was a kind of “competitive” training before European Rally Championship round – Rally Liepaja 2015.
Dmitry Chumak, co-driver: The tests went fine. On the first day we drove by the 4 km long stage, where Inessa recalled what is “competitive car”. We started to make notes in Russian immediately,
without any problems and understanding came at once, because we have already driven together, and we are the old friends.
It is not difficult to read notes to Inessa, there were no surprises. At first I told her periodically “push, push”, but later she had a good pace. Of course there is a difference in who sits on the left: a
girl or a guy. Here you have to be a psychologist and an expert on female soul to creaye a comfortable atmosphere in the crew. The main thing is the driver should not be nervous, but I will not unlock all the secrets. I can only say it was not easy.
Quite fast drivers from Belarus, Poland, Russia and Lithuania: Igor Bulantsev, Gediminas Ramonas and Daniel Zharna were the main rivals of the crew.
By the first day results after 4 special stages Inessa took the third place in N4 overall standings, losing only 1.25 minutes to the leader – Igor Bulantsev from Moscow.
Inessa Tushkanova: If we knew there would be a strong line-up of participants, the leaders of Lithuania and Belarus Rally championship, I would have chosen a different strategy. On the first day I fixed and tested those wheels, which I will use at the European Championship round in Latvia – Liepaja rally. The race was not easy for us, it was also hard because of the starting position: I got used to the smooth path, and here it was different. I had to drive by the loose snow up to the notes, there was no grip, and when it appeared I was so frightened from the previous special stages that it was
psychologically difficult to switch fast.
My last race was rally Tartu, so it is difficult to get into a car and push hard after six months. Three pedals and a hand shifting – it’s not the automatic gearbox. I was not dreaming about podium, because there are no excuses for mistakes durind the race. I drive fast and the tests, but there can be more mistakes in real competitive conditions due to the pressure.
During the first two stages we got used to the situation. At the third SS we had a good pace and decided to drive as it was proven, when the car hit some rock in a right turn, and we drove 6 km on a bare wheel disk fending off. The result was worn off tyre and bent steering rod. At the 4th SS after a puncture we decided not to be heroes. The car jumped to the ditches and among the trees but finished undamaged!
There were some troubles during the wheel replacement: the car fell off the jack twice because of a loose surface, and we were constantly distracted by fans who tried to help, so we had to chase them away from the car.
I also had a mistake at the penultimate stage. I have a hard AntiLag System configuration for dry weather in my car. There is no engineer in the team, so the problem is not yet resolved. During the tests I adjusted to the car, trying to learn how to enter the turns, but it is still difficult to drive: the car does not stop on a slippery surface, because ALS pushes it forward, and it turns not very good, so
everything should be done in advance. Well, I have made a mistake somewhere: I turned a little bit earlier and caught the parapet. We almost rolled over, I even had to back out and switch off the ALS. It upset us, of course. Given how much time we lost with a wheel, it was no longer crucial.
In the evening we found out we were the second in the class by the day results, so we got some narrow used wheels and pushed the next day as hard as we could!
However, after all these tests, travels and preparations I felt exhausted. We coped with the first day, but the second went harder. However much I had trained my body, on the final day morning I felt
like after the most enervating workout – all my muscles ached.
The terrible stages surface and the weather conditions were not joyful: the rain started, everything turned into a mess with puddles, and the gravel appeared on the road. On Saturday morning we started the 15th after two-wheel Clios and BMWs. At 15-kilometer SS we caught the orange BMW. The guys quickly understood the situation and gave us the way. After the finish they went around the car for a long time and tried to understand what was wrong with it. It turned out everything was ok, we just speeded up!
Of course I drove very carefully, I had to finish and I have reached my goal – I have not been so happy for a long time! Maybe I could have driven much faster, but every mistake is a serious accident and I am looking forward to start in European Championship!
Halls Winter Rally 2015 results:
1 16 M.Samsonas/M.Varža Mitsubiahi Lancer Evolution IX (1) 1:12:13.30
2 14 M.Samuitis/R.Šaučikovas Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X (1) 1:13:34.80 +1:21.50
3 2 V.Švedas/Ž.Sakalauskas Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X (1) 1:15:15.20 +3:01.90
4 3 D.Butvilas/K.Heller Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X (1) 1:15:20.80 +3:07.50
5 54 I.Bulantsev/M.Danilova Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X (2) 1:18:28.01 +6:14.71
6 11 I.Tushkanova/D.Chumak Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX (2) 1:19:04.30 +6:51.00