The GAZ Raid Sport crews won the 3rd stage of the Russian Rally Raid Cup held in the Astrakhan Region. The GAZelle Next crew of Evgeny Suhovenko and Kirill Chapaev took the first place in the Raid category, while the crew of Mikhail Shklyaev and Aleksandr Filyakin won the gold in the T4 truck category.
It was planned to hold the 3rd Russian Cup stage in Volgograd but the epidemiological situation in the region made it impossible. This year, the Astrakhan Region hosted the race for the second time. In September, Astrakhan hosted the Gold of Kagan race and in November it welcomed best racers of the country. The contest was held in compliance with strict epidemiological restrictions. All participants made a test, no start ceremony, no meeting of racers and no press conferences were held.
The contest organizers prepared a 650km long track, incl. 447 km long high-speed sections. The Astrakhan track is acknowledged to be the most complicated in the Russian Cup. Uneven Steppe roads turn to heavy sand that may be compared to that in Africa . Athlets say that Steppe roads of the Astrakhan track nearly turned to stone in the cold of the night. The track seems to be smooth but there are lots of small humps and holes that turn it to a washboard at high speed and become a real endurance test for vehicle assemblies. Amazing off-road performance in sand and dunes and great resistence to vibrations on gravel track sections were the key to success of GAZ vehicles in that race.
Vyacheslav Subbotin, sports director of the GAZ Raid Sport Team:
- We have had not too many contests this year. Several stages of the Russian Cup were cancelled, and so was the Silk Road. But we did not lose time. We used it to retrofit our vehicles in the meanwhile. We used GAZelle Next sport vehicles of the second generation with a leaf spring suspension. The reliability of GAZ vehicles and efforts of the entire crew - engineers, foremen, drivers and co-drivers - let us show such performance on a complex race track. This victory is the highest award for all our efforts.