Austin Jones leads a South Racing Can-Am 1-2-3-4 at Rally Kazakhstan

Austin Jones leads a South Racing Can-Am 1-2-3-4 at Rally Kazakhstan

13.06.2021: Rally Kazakhstan Ė June 8-13, 2021 FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Rallies, round 2 Sunday, June 13th, 2021 ē Austin Jones increases his lead over Kees Koolen in the FIA T4 Championship

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

•         Austin Jones increases his lead over Kees Koolen in the FIA T4 Championship

•         Fernando Alvarez, Pavel Lebedev and Annett Fischer well-placed in FIA T3 section  

South Racing-built Can-Ams dominated the FIA T4 category at Rally Kazakhstan, round two of the 2021 FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Rallies, with Austin Jones, Eugenio Amos, Kees Koolen and Diego Martinez claiming the top four positions.

American Austin Jones and Brazilian navigator Gustavo Gugelmin laid down the gauntlet on the first of five selective sections through south-western Kazakhstan and were able to manage their pace to finish in a superb fifth overall, 30min 36sec in front of their South Racing Can-Ams colleagues, Eugenio Amos and Paolo Ceci.

Jones said:
“The last day was good. It was a little but tricky with the navigation and we had to go a bit slow to figure out the way. But we had a big lead going into it, so we wanted to be slow and we did what we wanted to do and ended up winning the race. I am very happy with that. We did a strategic race. Now we can aim for three in a row at the Silk Way Rally.”

The Dutch duo of Kees Koolen and Mirjam Pol claimed useful championship points for finishing third in the FIA T4 category and the Argentine duo of Diego Martinez and Santiago Hansen crewed a fourth South Racing Can-Am to fourth place.

Chile’s Hernan Garces and Qatar’s Khalifa Al-Attiyah featured on the original entry list but were not able to make the trip to Kazakhstan.

The Spanish pairing of Fernando Alvarez and Antonio Garcia crewed the first of three South Racing Can-Am X3 entered in the FIA T3 category. They delivered a strong performance to finish eighth overall and second in T3 behind Spain’s series leader Cristina Gutierrez.

Germany’s Annett Fischer was navigated by the experienced Portuguese Filipe Palmeiro and slotted into fourth, with the South Racing-built Can-Am of Pavel Lebedev and Kirill Shubin finishing third.

South Racing Can-Am Team’s Scott Abraham said: “A great race for the team with South Racing Can-Ams dominating the event in the T4 category and also taking two podium spots in the T3 category. It was a strong debut performance with the team for Eugenio Amos and Paolo Ceci, taking four stage wins. Unfortunately, a small roll in the dunes on day one set them back. They showed they will be a force to be reckoned with for the rest of the championship.

“Kees Koolen finished third and consolidated his second place in the championship. Diego Martinez finished his first race with the team. Fernando (Alvarez) drove a strong race to finish second in T3 ahead of the South Racing-built Can-Am being driven by Pavel Lebedev. Annett Fischer also drove  well to come home in a strong position in T3 and claim points.

“The team now looks forward to a long trip to Omsk in Russia where we will be fielding a five-car South Racing Can-Am Team. We look forward to 10 more days of racing.”

Jones travelled for 55 hours to reach Aktau, transiting through the USA, Amsterdam and Warsaw before reaching the start location on the shores of the Caspian Sea. The jet lag didn’t affect the youngster, however, and he stormed through the opening selective section of 280.22km that started near Senek and finished close to Aktau City. The fastest time gave the Monster Energy man a massive overnight lead.

Amos settled in well to his first event with South Racing to come home third and Martinez was fourth. Koolen got stuck in the stage but managed to reach Aktau over 1hr 40min behind the leader.

Amos set the quickest time on the first part of the Marathon stage, a high-speed 279.48km special from Aktau to the night halt in Kenderly on the shores of the Caspian Sea. The Can-Am stopped the clocks just 38 seconds under three hours to edge Jones for the win by 1min 07sec. The American maintained a lead of 39min 13sec to take into the second half of the Marathon stage.

Koolen recovered strongly to finish the special in third place and Martinez was fifth, with both holding fourth and fifth in the overall T4 rankings.   

The longest stage of the event was the 330.12km second part of the Marathon between Kenderly and Senek. Amos snatched the fastest time again to reduce Jones’s outright advantage to 38 minutes.

“It was very fast at the beginning,” said Amos. “After the refuelling, we had the same pace as Austin Jones but we lost around three minutes in the last 150km because I had to slow down. I was exhausted. I am not used to driving these long stages any more. We had 20km in some small dunes and we made a small mistake. But thanks to Paolo (Ceci) he brought me back to the right path and we gained back all the time we had lost to the others and were able to take the stage win. So this is his victory..”

Koolen came home in third place to hold a similar place in the rankings and Martinez climbed to fourth.

Amos was again fastest on the fourth stage that looped through the deserts to the north-east of Aktau, but Jones managed his pace well and the American was able to take a T4 lead of 34 minutes into the final morning. Koolen lost out on third place to Martinez.

Amos was again fastest on the final stage, as Jones erred on the side of caution to seal the win and another massive haul of championship points.

Support for the South Racing Can-Am Team came from Method Wheels, Tensor Tires, Motul, Bell, Lazer and OMP.

2021 Rally  Kazakhstan – FIA T4 result:

1. Austin Jones (USA)/Gustavo Gugelmin (BRA) Monster Energy Can-Am Maverick X3                           17hr 57min 22sec

2. Eugenio Amos (ITA)/Paolo Ceci (ITA) South Racing Can-Am Maverick X3                                              18hr 27min 58sec

3. Kees Koolen (NLD)/Mirjam Pol (NLD) South Racing Can-Am Maverick X3                                              20hr 07min 03sec

4. Diego Martinez (ARG)/Santiago Hansen (ARG) South Racing Can-Am Maverick X3                             21hr 19min 59sec

5. Marat Abykayev (KAZ)/Sergey Timofeev (KAZ) Yamaha YKZ 1000R                                                           56hr 04min 32sec

6. Ricardo Suarez (ESP)/Oriol Vidal (ESP) Can-Am Maverick X3                                                    79hr 03min 36sec

2021 Rally Kazakhstan – FIA T3 result:

1. Cristina Gutierrez (ESP)/François Cazalet (FRA) OT3                                                                 18hr 12min 33sec

2. Fernando Alvarez (ESP)/Antonio García (ESP) South Racing Can-Am Maverick X3                                18hr 53min 36sec

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

4. Annett Fischer (DEU)/Filipe Palmeiro (PRT) South Racing Can-Am Maverick X3                  19hr 35min 45sec

5. José-Luis Pena Campo (ESP)/Rafael Tornabell (ESP) Polaris RZR Pro XP                                               20hr 02min 02sec, etc

- Neil Perkins, photos Rally Kazakhstan


13.06.2021 / MaP

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