What to know
Last year, the Rally de la República name was given to the fifth round of the season in late July when the Paraguayan Rally Championship went to Yguazú in the east. Next weekend, instead, the event moves to a different host town, Carapeguá, for the third round of the calendar.
This city used to close each season, just like it happened in November 2018 when a very heavy rain fell in the middle of the first leg and forced to shorten the rally.
Another important difference with the past is that República will be a Coefficint 2 event, so it is longer than the rest. This means its total distance is almost 525 kilometers and that there are three days of action, not just two, among Friday 5th July and Sunday 7th. Also, the winner takes a bulky 50 points home.
For the first of those legs there will be two runs through the stages known as Jahapety-Herculano Cué (SS1 and 3, the shortest with 7,55 km.) and Paso Mandarina-Hipódromo (SS2 y 4), so participants will return to parc fermé by 15:24.
On Saturday, the itinerary shows three stages to be done twice each: Paso Paredes-Campo Mamoreí (SS5 and 8), Rincón Guazú-Zanja León Ybicuí (SS6 and 9) and Arasa Ty-Paso Yobaí Acahay (SS7 and 10, the longest with 28 km.), finish early again to avoid the sun coming down before expected.
Sunday will see the rally driving through El Viajero-Desvío Potrerito (SS11 and 14), Desvío Potrerito-Desvío Juvenil (SS12 and 15) and Grupo DC-Santa Bárbara (SS13 and 16 Power Stage) twice. At 13:45 the first crew should park close to the town church.
Undoubtedly, competitors in this fifth edition of Rally de la República not only will have to be clever in their tactics to make it to the finish, but also hunt the many points this round has to offer in order to get well placed halfway in the season when Rally de Alto Paraná is held later this month.
So far, the championship class leaders are Diego Domínguez (Hyundai i20 R5, RC2 Pro), Juan Martín Masi (Ford Fiesta RC5, RC2), César Martínez Jr. (Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X, RC2N Pro), César Pedotti (Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VIII, RC2N), Sebastián Lafarja (Honda Civic Type R, RC3 Pro), Diego Elizeche (Honda Civic Si, RC3), Diego Domínguez Jr. (Peugeot 208 R2, RC4 Pro), Rodolfo Winekker (Honda Civic Si, RC4), Arnaldo Duarte (Toyota Vitz, RC4L) and Nicolás Baeza (Volkswagen Gol, RC5).
Entries closed today at noon with 40 cars. 24 of them are front-wheel drive vehicles and 16 are four-wheel drive. In the evening, organizers were carrying on scrutineering.
Next Thursday at 6:00 the service park will be open in the Montrex facilities next to the main road. Later, the Secretariat will give road books and allow all entrants to do the recce.
That same day, Shakedown will not be compulsory for 2WD cars, but if someone wants to do it, it is posible from 13:30 to 15:00. The other must start the test between 15:00 and 16:30.
Just in front of the Carapeguá church, the start of the event will take place at 18:00. Next Friday at 10:30 the first car on the road will be seen by the SS1 spectators.
Place and weather
Carapeguá is a district of 435 km² with approximately 33.500 inhabitants. Most of them live in rural areas. The city is located in the Paraguarí region, about 84 kilometers from Asunción. A small river called Caañabé passes through the town, not far from the Ypoá lake.
It was founded in 1725 by Spaniard governor Martín de Barúa. The city is known like the poyvi capital (poyvi meaning yarn in guaraní language) thanks to the quality in the production of garments such as blankets, covers, ponchos, upholstery and tablecloths, among other creations.
Other resources are farming (sugar cane, corn, cotton, cassava) and cattle raising (cows, sheeps, horses).
Some interesting spots to visit there are the Culture House, the Oñondivepá Artcraft Historical Musem and the Cathedral. Not far from the city, it is possible to find the Acahay hill. Due to its shape, it was formerly thought that it was an extinct form of volcano or the result of a meteorite impact, but it was then proved its crystallization process was too slow to be such a thing.
The forecast tells of sunny days (barely clouded by Sunday) with minimum temperatures of about 3° to 8° and maximum temperatures in the order of 14° to 17°.
Special Stages: 12 (6 different stages).
Leg 1 distance: 152,40 km (110,50 special stages and 41,90 road sections).
Leg 2 distance: 169,27 km (117,14 special stages and 52,13 road sections).
Total distance: 321,67 km (227,64 special stages and 94,03 road sections).
Point standings (after TransItapúa and Guairá)
RC2 Pro: 1-Diego Domínguez 51.5, 2-Alejandro Galanti 40, 3-Gustavo Saba 35.5, 4-Augusto Bestard 17, 5-Miguel Zaldívar 13.5, 6-Miguel Ángel García 12.5.
RC2: 1-Juan Martín Masi 43.5, 2-Luis Maldonado Jr.) 38.5, 3-Jorge García 37, 4-Luis Ortega 21.5, 5-Agustín Alonso 1.
RC2N Pro: 1-César Martínez Jr. 60.5, 2-Ricardo Escauriza 23, 3-Blas Zapag 19.5, 4-Andrea Lafarja 19, 5-Iván Blabuena 17.5.
RC2N: 1-César Pedotti 37, 2-Oscar Napout 27.5, 3-César Martínez 7, 4-Francisco Delgado 3.5.
RC3 Pro: 1-Sebastián Lafarja 53.5, 2-Riyosuke Shima 26.5, 3-César Cruz 11, 4-Fabrizio Zaldívar 7.
RC3: 1-Diego Elizeche 59.5, 2-Jorge Ocampos 31, 3-Diego Cruz 26.5, 4-Ricardo Fretes 24.5, 5-Miguel Bravo 20, 6-Miguel Cabral 16.
RC4 Pro: 1-Diego Domínguez Jr. 34.5, 2-Fabrizio Zaldívar 28.5, 3-Rubén González 23, 4-Fabrizio Yaluk 22.
RC4: 1-Rodolfo Winekker 49.5, 2-Amílkar Servín 28.5, 3-Claudio Stein 17, 4-Carlos Espinoza 16.5, 5-Rodrigo Ocampos 9.
RC4L: 1-Arnaldo Duarte 33.5, 2-Sebastián Martínez 31, 3-Marvin Stein 25.5, 4-Juan Escobar 8, 5-Federico Ramírez 6.
RC5: 1-Nicolás Baeza 57.5, 2-Fabrizio Galanti 44, 3-Rafael Saurini 9.5, Claudio Bergottini 4, 5-Fernando Abente 3.5, 6-Giulio Massagrande 1.
Pictures: The Škoda Fabia R5 of Luis Maldonado Jr. and Jorge González is ready to start a new round of the Paraguayan Rally Championship. / Diego Cruz enters a Honda Civic Type R in the RC3 class, co-drive by father Jorge. (JES)