Overdrive Racing's Lucio Alvarez guides his Toyota Hilux to victory in Rally Kazakhstan

Overdrive Racing's Lucio Alvarez guides his Toyota Hilux to victory in Rally Kazakhstan

13.06.2021: 2021 Rally Kazakhstan FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Rallies, round 2 June 8-13, 2021 Sunday, June 13th 2021 ē Chabot takes fourth place as Al-Rajhi sets fastest time on final stage ē Spainís Cristina Gutierrez wins FIA

2021 Rally Kazakhstan
FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Rallies, round 2
June 8-13, 2021
Sunday, June 13th 2021

•         Chabot takes fourth place as Al-Rajhi sets fastest time on final stage

•         Spain’s Cristina Gutierrez wins FIA T3 section in her OT3-by-Overdrive

Overdrive Racing’s Lucio Alvarez and Spanish co-driver Armand Monleón delivered a solid final stage performance to confirm victory on Rally Kazakhstan, round two of the 2021 FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Rallies.

Trailing Frenchman Mathieu Serradori at the start of the final stage through the arid deserts close to the Caspian Sea, north of Aktau City, Alvarez hit the front when Serradori stopped with technical issues and cruised through to win the biggest race of his career by the margin of 28min 25sec.

“We are so happy to finish the Kazakhstan Rally with the win,” said Alvarez. “Today was a fast stage with some difficult navigation, but we did okay. It was an interesting event and a superb result for us.”

Three of the four Overdrive Racing Toyota Hiluxes survived five gruelling days of action through the remote wastelands of the world’s largest land-locked country. The French  crew of Ronan Chabot and Gilles Pillot guided their Toyota to a fine fourth place and Yazeed Al-Rajhi and German navigator Dirk von Zitzewitz finished 20th after losing their chance of the outright win on day four.

Al-Rajhi lost time with navigational woes with a road book instruction on day one and played catch up for the next three days until he suffered a broken drive shaft after taking the virtual outright rally lead on stage four. Time penalties followed when the Saudi missed several waypoints in the dunes but he won the final stage to consolidate 20th place.

Juan Cruz and Alejandro Yacopini rolled the fourth Toyota out of the top 10 and were forced to retire.

FIA World Cup leader Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah had featured on the original entry list as part of the Overdrive Racing team with French co-driver Matthieu Baumel, but logistical issues in these challenging times forced him to miss the event because of its close proximity to a round of the Spanish National Rally Championship. With the outcome of the rally going in favour of Alvarez, Al-Attiyah remains firmly in title contention, despite not taking part in Kazakhstan.

Overdrive Racing also ran two OT3s in the FIA T3 category. The lightweight off-road machines delivered potent stage performances once again and Cristina Gutierrez teamed up with French navigator François Cazalet to win the category by 41min 03sec and finish sixth overall. The result means the Spaniard extends her lead in the FIA T3 Championship.
Guillaume de Mevius suffered electrical issues, got stuck and sustained a time-consuming puncture on SS4, but he and fellow Belgian Tom Colsoul won two stages and recovered to finish 23rd overall.  

A fast selective with tricky navigation and small dunes got proceedings underway between Senek and Aktau City and a vague directional arrow in the road book proved costly to Al-Rajhi. The Saudi lost his way for around 15 minutes and finished the stage in fourth place, behind the stage-winning Mathieu Serradori and Overdrive team-mates Alvarez and Chabot. Yacopini was classified in 10th in the fourth Toyota.

Al-Rajhi bounced back to form on the first part of the Marathon stage between Aktau and Kenderly and set the fastest time over the high-speed piste to reduce Serradori’s lead to 7min 09sec. Alvarez retained second place and a 23-second cushion over his team-mate with the fifth quickest time. Chabot slipped to fifth, but it was a good day for Yacopini and the Argentine moved up to seventh in the standings.

After overcoming a fuel pressure alarm warning on the first part of the Marathon stage, Al-Rajhi pushed hard at the start of the third selective that started at Kenderly and finished near Senek. He managed to comfortably set the fastest time and reduced Serradori’s overall lead to 22 seconds, the Saudi overtaking Alvarez in the process.

“We’ve completed the two Marathon days and it was a very challenging part of the race,” said Al-Rajhi’s co-driver Dirk von Zitzewitz. “We won the stage yesterday, but had some trouble inside the car with alarms for fuel pressure.

There was nothing we could do against it. We tried to do a small service at the Marathon, change the wheels and check all the stuff.

“Today, the car was running nicely, no real problems. We had to open today. Navigation was tricky in places and we are very happy to win the stage and get very close to the leader in the overall classification. Yazeed pushed hard and then had a smooth pace towards the end.”

Alvarez held third overall on a stage where Chabot slipped to fifth behind Denis Krotov and Yacopini rolled his Toyota and lost his place inside the top 10.

Yacopini said:
“We had a hard crash on a very fast straight, back, front, back, front, twice, and could not continue in this rally because of the FIA things (safety). We are both okay. I have a little bit of pain in my back but nothing serious. We are disappointed not to finish this rally. We made a lot of preparations and were training a lot. We will train harder for the next rally.”

Al-Rajhi’s chance of winning the event ended on the fourth stage after he had snatched the virtual lead at the refuelling point. The Saudi sustained a drive shaft breakage and became stuck in soft sand. While he was extricating the Toyota from a sandy hole, Sebastien Halpern’s Mini came over the dune and there was a minor collision that increased the time loss.

The Saudi managed to finish the stage with the loss of a little under an hour, but the challenge for victory was over when massive time penalties were added later and he plummeted to 18th position after missing several waypoints in the dunes. Alvarez duly regained second place and Chabot finished the special in fifth overall.

But drama unfolded on the final stage and Alvarez was able to claim the win when Serradori stopped with technical issues. Al-Rajhi won the stage, Chabot confirmed fourth place and Gutierrez sealed the win in T3.

Action in the 2021 FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Rallies resumes with the Silk Way Rally at the start of July.  

2021 Rally Kazakhstan – result (unofficial)

1. Lucio Alvarez (ARG)/Armand Monleón (ESP) Toyota Hilux Overdrive                            16hr 03min 17sec

2. Denis Krotov (RUS)/ Konstantin Zhiltsov (RUS) MINI John Cooper Works Rally   16hr 31min 42sec

3. Mattias Ekström (SWE)/Emil Bergkvist (SWE) MINI John Cooper Works Buggy     16hr 38min 21sec

4. Ronan Chabot (FRA)/Gilles Pillot (FRA) Toyota Hilux Overdrive                                     17hr 22min 35sec

5. Austin Jones (USA)/Gustavo Gugelmin (BRA) Can-Am Maverick X3 (FIA T4)                          17hr 57min 22sec

6. Cristina Gutierrez (ESP)/François Cazalet (FRA) OT3 by Overdrive (FIA T3)                   18hr 12min 33sec

7. Eugenio Amos (ITA)/Paolo Ceci (ITA) Can-Am Maverick X3 (FIA T4)                                        18hr 27min 58sec

8. Fernando Alvarez (ESP)/Antonio Gimeno (ESP) Can-Am Maverick X3 (FIA T3)                       18hr 53min 36sec

9. Pavel Lebedev (RUS)/Kirill Shubin (RUS) Can-Am Maverick X3 (FIA T3)                  19hr 03min 52sec

10. Annett Fischer (DEU)/Filipe Palmeiro (PRT) Can-Am Maverick X3 (FIA T3)                          19hr 35min 45sec

20. Yazeed Al-Rajhi (SAU)/Dirk von Zitzewitz (DEU) Toyota Hilux Overdrive                    34hr 18min 05sec

23. Guillaume de Mevius (BEL)/Tom Colsoul (BEL) OT3 by Overdrive (FIA T3)                  42hr 59min 28sec

- Neil Perkins, photos Rally Kazakhstan

Permanent-URL: http://www.automobilsport.com/overdrive-racing-lucio-alvarez-toyota-hilux-victory-rally-kazakhstan---224833.html

13.06.2021 / MaP

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