What to know
Last night, 66 entries were awaiting weather reports to check if this time Rally del Guairá would be able to unfold normally next weekend. Based at Villarrica, this is one of the most traditional venues in the calendar. As a matter of fact, in 2019 it will run its 19th edition.
This was the event that had to open the season two months ago, but torrential rains made that an absolutely impossible task to achieve. Right now, there are also some chances of rain in the area, but nothing to do with the flood-like picture of the March. Centro Paraguayo de Volantes have been driving the stages yesterday and very early today (Friday) to find out that crew can do the recce in muddy conditions, but without major inconveniences.
Last April, Rally TransItapúa was the first taste of action for the Paraguayan Rally Championship fans this year. In the southern region, Diego Domínguez and Edgardo Galindo took the Hyundai i20 R5 to a winning drive when shocking last-minute news saw Alejandro Galanti and Leonardo deprived of what would have been a well deserved success after dominating almost the whole rall rally in their Toyota Etios, delayed by a failing fuel pump. They finished second, after all.
Augusto Bestard and Héctor Nunes got a podium result with the Ford Fiesta, while Gustavo Saba and Fernando Mussano suffered rear suspension problems in the Volkswagen Polo GTI, a situation that has lately repeated more than once among the German product users globally. All these entries belong to the RC2 Pro class.
In RC2, Juan Martín Masi comes here as the series leader. He set some interesting time in the roads around Itapúa, driving another Ford. He is followed by Jorge García and Luis Maldonado Jr., both Škoda competitors.
César Martínez Jr. heads the pack in RC2N Pro (Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X), chased by Ricardo Escauriza and Iván Balbuena. César Pedotti and César Martínez are the only two drivers who scored points in RC2N so far.
Sebastián Lafarja and Riyosuke Shima are just one point apart in RC3 Pro, while Diego Elizeche is more comfortoable in RC3 by scoring 12 more points than Jorge Ocampos. In the RC4 Pro division, Diego Domínguez (h) has got 32 points, 10 more than Fabrizio Yaluk and 21 more than Rubén González. Rodolfo Winneker leads the pack in RC4, Arnaldo Duarte in RC4L and Nicolás Baeza in RC5.
UTV cars will take part of Guairá in one of the occasions in which their claendar is shared by the national rally series.
The Yaluk brothers had done well in Encarnación. Álvaro was setting good stage times in his Citroën DS3 until he retired. Fabrizio made his debut in the Ford Fiesta R2, but none of them will start this round because spare parts for their cars didn’t arrive to South America on time from France and Great Britain.
UTV championship leaders are Miguel Franco (A-A), Juan Bautista Ybáñez (A-S), Nicolás Tomboly (T-A) and Oscar Santos (T-S).
Saturday’s special stages are Félix Pérez Cardoso-Bombilla (SS1 9:00 and SS4 12:44), Coronel Martínez (SS2 9:43 and SS5 13:27), Félix Pérez Cardoso-Caroveni (SS3 10:36 and SS6 14:20). On Sunday, the event moves to Melgarejo Tacuarita (SS7 8:30 and SS10 12:04), Loma Barreto-2° Division (SS8 9:13 and SS11 12:47) and finally Kaundý-Tuyutí Guazú (SS9 9:46 and SS12 Power Stage 13:30). The winning crew should get into the Service Area at the Sport Azucarero field shortly before 14:00.
Because of the rain, the recce was postponed yesterday, but conditions are improving now after the Shakedown.
Lugar y clima
Guairá is one of the 17 departments forming Paraguay. Located in the center of the Eastern area of its map, it is the second smallest region.
Its history is a paradox because these lands used to belong to the older and much larger Guayrá borders which reached the Atlantic Ocean, now part of Brazil. The main town is Villarrica, which was founded in 1570 under the name of Villa Rica del Espíritu Santo. In different periodis, it was inhabited by Guaraní tribes, Spaniards, Jesuits, Portuguese, Bandeirantes and Franciscans.
People is mostly focused in rural work, but this is also a place of talents such as former president Andrés Rodríguez Pedotti, writer Augusto Roa Bastos and musicians Manuel Ortiz Guerrero, Félix Pérez Cardozo and José Félix Bogado. Back in 2010, Guairá was credited “Capital of Paraguayan Harp”.
Sugar production is also strong as well as yerba mate, cattle and chicken raising.
Guairá has the Ybytyruzú hills which include the highest elevations in this country. It is not a place surrounded by Paraguay’s most important rivers (Paraguay, Paraná and Pilcomayo), but it is rich in water streams, anyway.
Typical flora are lapachos, cedars, peterebys, araucarias and bamboos. Wildlife sees woodpeckers, wine chest parrots, owls, saw ducks, rainbow boa snakes and giant otters (in extinction danger).
Winters are mild and summers long and hot.
The weather forecast shows some minor storms for these days, mínimum temperatures of about 14° and 22° maximum.
Special stages: 12 total (6 different stages).
Leg 1 distance: 164,14 km (93,66 special stages and 70,48 road sections).
Leg 2 distance: 193,40 km (71,90 special stages and 121,50 road sections).
Total distance: 359,38 km (165,56 special stages and 193,82 road sections).
Standings (after TransItapúa)
RC2 Pro: 1-Diego Domínguez 27, 2-Alejandro Galanti 24, 3-Augusto Bestard 17, 4-Miguel Zaldívar (h) 12, 5-Gustava Saba y Pedro Fadul 10, 7-Miguel Ángel García 6.
RC2: 1-Juan Martín Masi 27, 2-Jorge García 24, 3-Luis Maldonado (h) 10.
RC2N Pro: 1-César Martínez (h) 32, 2-Ricardo Escauriza 23, 3-Iván Balbuena 5.
RC2N: 1-César Pedotti 30, 2-César Martínez 7.
RC3 Pro: 1-Sebastián Lafarja 25, 2-Riyosuke Shima 24, 3-César Cruz 9, Fabrizio Zaldívar 7.
RC3: 1-Diego Elizeche 32, 2-Jorge Ocampos 20, 3-Miguel Cabral 16, 4-Diego Cruz 12, 5-Wilfred Klassen 5, 6-Ricardo Fretes 4.
RC4 Pro: 1-Diego Domínguez (h) 32, 2-Fabrizio Yaluk 22, 3-Rubén González 21.
RC4: 1-Rodolfo Winneker 32.
RC4L: 1-Arnaldo Duarte 30, 2-Sebastián Martínez 23, 3-Juan Escobar 8.
RC5: 1-Nicolás Baeza 31, 2-Fabrizio Galanti 22, 3-Rafael Saurini 8, 4-Claudio Bergottini 4.