- Simone has won seven out of the eight stages scheduled and imposed in the duel with his colleague from Napoca Rally Academy, Bogdan Marișca, while Gergo Szabo climbed on the last step of the podium
- Bogdan Marisca climbed to second place in the championship standings, with an advance of 0.4 points from Edwin Keleti
- Raul Badiu won the duel with Sebi Barbu in the two-wheel drive category and secured the title of national champion at this category
Sibiu Rally Challenge, motorsport festival and the sixth round of Dunlop National Rally Championship, ended Saturday night at the end of a day which had as a main attraction the special stages scheduled on the most beautiful road in Romania, Transfăgărăşan. Leading after the first day, Simone Tempestini has won all the stages and achieved his fifth victory this year.
On the second day of Sibiu Rally Challenge, Transfăgărăşan greeted its guests with an atypical weather for August. Extremely low temperatures, slightly above freezing, dense fog and rain. Obviously, in these conditions, the task has become even more difficult for the drivers, as choosing the right tires could have made a difference in the fight for victory. Even more, all the pilots have complained about the lack of visibility in the second downhill on Transfăgărăşan, which affected their performance on the stage.
In terms of sport, on the first loop of day two, Simone Tempestini and Bogdan Marișca, the first two pilots at the end of day one with 2.6 seconds between them, finished all three stages in the same order, in the top of the hierarchy. Simone was able to increase his advance to 24 seconds, but has not lifted his foot from the gas pedal, and ticked the best time on the last three stages, followed by Marișca (PS7) and Szabo (PS6 and PS8). Thus, at the end of a rally where, on the first special stage, only Bogdan stole his chance to have a percentage of 100% “scratch”, the championship leader has won the fifth time this year and his success put him in the absolute top of the hierarchy. “There was a second where I went as we wanted and, as a result, we have achieved the objective we have set in this race – victory. It was not an easy rally, but everything went very well and we are glad we took another step towards the title.” Simone said at the end of the day.
Second place went to Bogdan Marișca, who finished at 56.2 seconds after the winner. Content, Bogdan said at the end: “The route was very competitive and I’m glad everything worked perfectly, I managed to climb next to Simone on the second position in the overall standings of the season.”
If at the end of the first day Raul Badiu and Sebi Barbu, the pilots in dispute for supremacy in the two-wheel drive category, took places 3 and 4 in the overall standings, after only the first stage of the second day the drivers with four-wheel-drive cars proved the superiority of the contest material. Thus Marco Tempestini and Dan Gîrtofan became the pilots who were fighting for the third step of the podium, while Gergo Szabo moved up to 6th place, and was interposed between Badiu and Barbu. One stage later, Szabo took Raul’s place, and it was clear that the battle for the third step of the podium will be between Tempestini Sr, Gîrtofan and Hungarian pilot.
The decisive factor would have been stage number 5, the first pass on „Baraj” special stage. A blown fuse at the demisting system forced the Marco Tempestini to go 4 km blind. “I am unlucky. As long as we had no problems I had a rhythm that made me think that we will repeat the achievement from Transylvania Rally, where we had a full podium with Napoca Rally Academy. Unfortunately, the failure on PS5 and then losing the fourth gear on the transport stage has forced us to settle for less.” said Marco. He only took the 10th place on SS5 and reached an overall 5th place, on which he also finished the race.
Ranked ahead of Gîrtofan, Szabo managed to climb on the 3rd place, which he kept until the end, imposing on Gîrtofan with 17 seconds in advance. Finally, Szabo said: “There were just over 80 kilometers of special stage, but with a lot of challenges, especially because of the weather, making the rally extremely intense. We decided to climb the podium, I managed to make a good choice of tires, the car worked perfectly and we achieved our goal. ”
Edwin Keleti, second place in the overall standings of the season before this race, came in 6th place, with Marișca now 0.4 points ahead in the absolute hierarchy. Keleti left from Sibiu Rally Challenge as the winner of Class 3, category whose podium was also occupied by Rares Tomiță and Horatiu Savu.
Raul Badiu and Sebi Barbu duelled until the end, as mentioned previously, for the two-wheel drive category and 5/6 classes. Barbu, who came with a new car, admitted at the end, with fair play, that his opponent had a superior pace and that the victory was well earned. A victory which, in the context of Adrian Raspopa’s absence, earned Badiu, mathematically, the national title of the category. “He deserves to be champion. But in the future I will try to give our duel a higher pace.” Sebi Barbu said as he entered the service park. Number 3 was ranked Mihai Manole, who was in this competition the fastest of the beginners of Dunlop National Rally Championship.
Vlad Cosma, Alex Ardelean and Radu Necula occupied the top three places in Class 9 and in Suzuki Cup, while Viorel Ivan, Norbert Major and Bogdan Talasman took the podium of the other single brand competition, dedicated to Dacia cars. Finally, in Class 11, Thomas Abraham beat Romulus Preda by 19.5 seconds, while Andrei Pop imposed in Class 15.
In the Challenge competition, Jean Tatu won the category C1, Alex Filip won C2 and Lorincz Borbely won C3.
Sibiu Rally Challenge, a motorsport festival, is scheduled between 20 – 23 of August and includes Sibiu Rally, the sixth round of Dunlop National Rally Championship held under the aegis of the Romanian Motorsport Federation (FRAS). Sibiu Rally Challenge is an event co-financed by the Sibiu City Council and Sibiu City Hall and supported by Orange Romania.