The crew of the red Ford Fiesta N5 talks about their adventures in the world’s winterest rally – M.Samsonas \ E.Snitkas
How did you do? What worked, what didn’t, what were the expectations?
The Arctic Lapland Rally 2021 administrative commission began on Sunday afternoon. We arrived in Rovaniemi on Saturday evening. The covid virus tests had to be carried out before the administrative commission. We started getting acquainted with the special stages from Monday morning. The Reece lasted until Thursday evening, so there was definitely enough time for that. Getting to know the tracks, the technical commission, and all the other things in the race went great.
We did not set high goals for ourselves, we did not think about any exact finish place. The main goal is to pass the rally with as few mistakes as possible, collect all the sports kilometers and be at the finish because the rally is really long and difficult. When the second speed section started (1, 5 SS, and 7SS were canceled before the race due to the pandemic because the special stages had to take place in stadiums with a large number of spectators) after about 5 km the generator belt fell, so we had to stop because the same belt spins water pump. To overheat the engine would have been unwise. On the second day, we started according to the super rally rule. But still, we got some adventures the whole day. We had some technical problems with the car in all stages, so we couldn’t drive fast and tried to finish covering the sporting kilometers. The result is not high, but we managed to finish what is really important, we also brought the experience to the future.
We also had another important goal. We tested the latest 3Tube Piggyback technology shock absorbers, which we and two other participants had driving with N5 cars (Kia Rio N5 and Ford Fiesta N5). We and both Finns were delighted that with the shock absorbers of this technology, having to make great progress and get even closer to the operation of the R5 shock absorbers. On Sunday after the race at the Snow Rally Rings, we tested and compared the Ford Fiesta R5 with the N5. We had a really good week from which we learned a lot of valuable and invaluable experience.
What is the specificity of Lapland’s special stages? How is it different from the Lithuanian Winter Rally?
The special stages of the Arctic Lapland Rally are very long. The shortest SS was 23.55 km and the longest was 42.64 km. That alone is a fundamental difference from most rally races. The special stages are very fast in one place and very twisty in another place. The same with the road – sometimes it’s flat, sometimes hill stands on the other hill. Some stages are next to each other, but the terrain is very different. Usually, it’s very narrow, where in case of an error there is very little room for correction. And of course, it gets dark early. Starting around 14:30, additional lights are already needed, with most of the SS taking place in the dark, which adds even more complexity to the participants. This is a challenging rally in every aspect. Narrow, fast, long stretches of road, night, cold. Air temperatures changed frequently, from -20 to -30 on Thursday, -10 / 12 on Friday, -18 on Saturday.
What was the atmosphere and organisation of the Lapland Rally in the whole pandemic context?
Before leaving Lithuania, we had to do Covid virus tests and go to Rovaniemi to take the tests again before the competition. Upon receipt of negative answers, the organizers of the competition issued special bracelets with which you could access the areas reserved for participants. This year, the three special stages that were planned in Rovaniemi did not take place. The event took place without spectators. Traditionally, the start and finish are in the center of Rovaniemi, but this time due to the restrictions of the pandemic, it was decided that the rally start and finish procedures will take place in the service area. Time card markings were performed by the participants themselves, receiving instructions from the judges sitting in their car to reduce contact between the participants and the judges. Everything else went normally.
What are your crew’s plans for the 2021 season?
This year we dream of participating in as many competitions abroad as possible. Much will depend on the pandemic situation. The plans include Ireland, Cyprus, Spain, and the United States. The dates of the competition are not yet clear. A new RWD 2000 car is being produced for Kajus, as it is possible that the current BMW E36 M3 will travel to Ireland.
We will also try to help Rokiškis and Zarasai rallies in Lithuania. We also have experience and organization ideas from the Arctic Lapland Rally, so we will try to contribute with our experience and ideas. Organizers helpful, kind. Arctic Lapland Rally is a rally you always want to return to.
Martynas Samsonas – Ervinas Snitkas
Photos – Fotodarius.lt
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