An event with plenty of changes so far both from the sporting and the weather sides, tuned the sixth edition of Rally de Carapeguá into a totally unpredictable chapter in this year’s calendar. The rally had to be shortened as a consequence of a sudden torrential rain.
The morning started with hot temperatures and high humidity rates, but it was the many important retirements in just a couple of stages that were the most remarkable topic in the service park.
Diego Domínguez and Edgardo Galindo were one of the main candidate duos to clinch the RC2 title until an alarm dashboard light indicating the engine of the Hyundai i20 R5 was in risk forced to and early and sudden retirement. Agustín Alonso went off the road and damaged the front end of his Škoda Fabia, the car being repaired later waiting to run again tomorrow. With identical Fabias, Blas Zapag Jr. and José García were other notorious missing entrants, just like Augusto Bestard’s Ford Fiesta.
However, it was the terrible shunt by Diego Domínguez Jr. the one worrying the most to the rally community when it was known that, after landing heavily from a jump, the Peugeot 208 R2 lost control and rolled at least ten times before stopping several meters off the stage literally destroyed. Co-driver Juan José Sánchez escaped unhurt, but the young Domínguez, himself the 2018 RC4 champion, was taken to a hospital in Asunción for surgery in his broken collar bone and femur.
By 1pm, the sky was already overcast, so it was obvious it would rain, Although nobody thought that as heavy as it did shortly after the first crews on the road had started SS4 while the other had to drive in the mud.
Organizers decided to cancel special stages 5 and 6, not only because of the hazardous conditions, but also because of the lack of radio communications they would face if the equipment got wetter than expected.
In this context, Alejandro Galanti and Gustavo Saba shared stage wins with two each. Considering Domínguez’s retirement, the driver of the Czech car anticipated celebrations of what was his seventh national crown, co-driven by Argentinian Fernando Mussano. Saba gave his Fabia a successful farewell until he switches to a brand new Volkswagen next season.
Meanwhile, Galanti and Leonardo Suaya were on top of the overall results in their Toyota Etios with a total time of 40m36.59s, finishing the day 6.91s ahead of the runner-up and 1m00.53s ahead of Luis Maldonado (h), remarkably adapting to his first outing at the wheel of a Škoda. Also a newcomer in the RC2 class, César Martínez Jr. held to fourth place driving the best Ford (ABR team). Another Fiesta, in the hands of Fabrizio Zaldívar, was fifth.
César Martínez and Alcides Ortega were seventh overall and RC2N leaders in a Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X in which They were 1m27.30s faster tan Blas Zapag por 1m27.30s. Iván Balbuena, Ricardo Escauriza and Héctor Nunes, from that same category, completed the top ten.
Miguel Cabral (Honda Civic Si) was leading the way in RC4 until he delayed in the fourth special stage. In RC3, Jorge Ocampos and Jorge Cárdenas (Honda Civic Type R) overtook just before the end the Toyota Corolla of Riyosuke Shima just by 8.97s.
Hugo Cano and Pedro Sosa took their Toyota Vitz to first place in RC4L with a 28.05s margino ver Gustavo Benítez (Volkswagen Gol) and almost four minutes and a half over Pedro Noguera.
Alexandro Paniagua (Toyota Etios) was best of the RC5 class nearly all day long, but eventually it was Nicolás Baeza and Daniel Vera (Volkswagen Gol) who finished 10.28s in front of him, leaving Mauricio Salinas and Félix Bareiro further behind.
Centro Paraguayo de Volantes was going to wait for the evening hours to check the second leg roads and, depending on their condition, make up how the day remaining of the rally is going to be held (it is originally six more stages) for the 25 crews leaving parc fermé tomorrow at 7:37am.
Leg 1 stage winners
Overall: Alejandro Galanti 2, Gustavo Saba 2.
RC2: Alejandro Galanti 2, Gustavo Saba 2.
RC2N: César Martínez 2, Héctor Nunes 2.
RC3: Jorge Ocampos 2, Riyosuke Shima 2.
RC4: Diego Domínguez (h) 1, Miguel Cabral 2.
RC4L: Hugo Cano 4.
RC5: Nicolás Baeza 2, Alexandro Paniagua 1, Mauricio Salinas 1.
Leg 1 results 4WD: http://rally.com.py/Tiempos2018/Rally/8va.Fecha-Carapegua/Etapa1/4×4.htm
Leg 1 results 2WD: http://rally.com.py/Tiempos2018/Rally/8va.Fecha-Carapegua/Etapa1/F2.htm
Leg 1 results classes: http://rally.com.py/Tiempos2018/Rally/8va.Fecha-Carapegua/Etapa1/CLASE.htm