RUS SS4 - Alen ahead of Joge

From Chris Biewer [ 13/07/2007 ].
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Sorry, we don’t get accurate results, only glimpses of stage results. This is probably down to the same logistical problems that prevent EuroSport from midday live coverage this time. Remember, this is the first international motorsport event on Russian soil since 1914! Positions after SS4: 1 - Alen/Alanne, Fiat Abarth, 2 - Joge/Andersson, Peugeot, +5s5; 3 - Vouilloz/Klinger, Peugeot, +s; 4 - Ojeda/Barrabes, Peugeot, +s;



The top4 are as stated above, Alen junior leads 5sec from 3 Peugeots. That Jimmy Joge is the fastest of the Peugeots is a similar surprise as Luca Rosetti winning Ypres. Tho Jimmy Joge debuted the 207 S2000 in the WRC Swedish Rally and he is certainly more Scandinavian than the other Peugeot drivers. Still, IRC newcomers seem to be mixing up the establishment well!

Formerly we noted Renato Travaglia in his Mitsubishi in 4th place. He arrived at the finish of SS2 with a right rear puncture, but still in 4th place. However this puncture caused suspension damage, which resulted in a larger time loss on SS3 & SS4, before midday service.

To many it is a surprise how far series leader Andrea Navarra is off the pace, including the man himself. Navarra himself indicates that he doesn’t know why he is so uncompetitive stage after stage. Being first on the road certainly is one reason, but the time gaps are a bit large for this being the only reason, Navarra feels.

In his context we have proof that this event should turn really unique in the rally calendar. The stages are close to the Finnish border and many drivers had expected the stages to be similar to Finland. Even after recce everybody said so. Now the Fiat Abarth drivers even say “This is not as I remember it from recce!”, while all drivers confirm the roads are slower than Finland, but especially the surface is even softer than Finland, much softer!

This makes Navarra’s struggle even more of a curiosity. From the gaps Alen and Joge are like in a rally of their own. Navarra’s team mate Alen is 3rd on the road and leading! It is tempting to explain Peugeot driver Jimmy Joge’s strong 2nd place with his road position, as he is seeded at #19. However indeed on this soft surface Jimmy is hampered by deep, deep ruts!

Still, everybody loves these soft, technical stages, and while still the drivers say there are similarities to Finnish and Swedish stages, these Russian stages are clearly more technical and much softer, so it’s unique!