The 2018 Paraguayan Rally Championship finished yesterday at Carapeguá like it happened before, but the main difference with the past is that in this eighth edition there was a new winner in the season driving a car that had never succeeded before. Alejandro Galanti and Leonardo Suaya dominated both legs in the Paraguarí region and took the top spot of the event in their Toyota Etios R5.
After Saturday’s storms which produced an opening leg full of drama, it was necessary to wait until Sunday morning to know how the rally would go on. There wasn’t any rain in the night and the day started with some breeze and very sunny, so that was not definitely a danger for this round. However, there were areas with too much mud and some water crossings deep enough to make the organizers believe that it was better to shorten Leg 2 not only to one pass instead of two around the three different stages scheduled, but also to modify the start and finish points for all of them.
With some competitors who had retired on Leg 1 joining the action again, before 11am yesterday it was time to see Galanti proving fastest in every special stage, although Gustavo Saba would chase him closely in the Škoda Fabia. Without the need to take any risk after clinching his seventh national title yesterday, Saba visited the podium again, co-driven by Fernando Mussano. Third position went to Luis Maldonado Jr. in a remarkable work considering he was making his debut with a Fabia R5 after getting some RC2 taste in a Ford Fiesta as well as relying on a new co-driver here (Jorge González).
The winner’s total time was 1h02m2.56s and his two main followers finished 22.87s and 1m51.7s behind. A solid run took the young Fabrizio Zaldívar to fourth, co-driven by the experienced Víctor Aguilera. Zaldívar was best of the Ford entrants, the same car used by fifth-placed César Martínez Jr., still learning how to cope with the top class machinery where he would like to continue his career. Agustín Alonso (Škoda) and Augusto Bestard (Ford) decided not to rejoin the event.
Blas Zapag was sixth overall and RC2N victor. He set the fastest times in today’s three stages driving a Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X and celebrated with joy a great end of season. Zapag was 12m15.60s quicker than an identical Lancer, driven by Ricardo Escauriza (ninth overall). César Maldonado and Héctor Nunes were doing well, but they both retired.
Seventh in the road and best of the RC3 group were Jorge Ocampos and Jorge Cárdenas in a Honda Civic Type R which they took to parc fermé 3m04.46s before the Toyota Corolla of Riyosuke Shima, who managed to win one special stage.
Hugo Cano and Pedro Sosa were the men to beat in RC4L with a small, yet reliable Toyota Vitz they bring from Ciudad del Este. Two Volkswagen Gol cars, those of Gustavo Benítez and Félix Bareiro completed the podium. Nicolás Baeza and Daniel Vera shoed why They are RC5 champions in their Volkswagen Gol, followed by Alexandro Paniagua’s Toyota Etios.
Leg 2 stage winners
Overall: Alejandro Galanti 3.
RC2: Alejandro Galanti 3.
RC2N: Blas Zapag 3.
RC3: Jorge Ocampos 2, Riyosuke Shima 1.
RC4L: Hugo Cano 3.
RC5: Nicolás Baeza 3.
Rally total stage winners
Overall: Alejandro Galanti 5, Gustavo Saba 2.
RC2: Alejandro Galanti 5, Gustavo Saba 2.
RC2N: Blas Zapag 3, Héctor Nunes y César Martínez 2.
RC3: Jorge Ocampos 4, Riyosuke Shima 3.
RC4: Miguel Cabral, Diego Domínguez (h) 1.
RC4L: Hugo Cano 7.
RC5: Nicolás Baeza 5, Mauricio Salinas y Alexandro Paniagua 1.
Final results 4WD: http://rally.com.py/Tiempos2018/Rally/8va.Fecha-Carapegua/Etapa2/4×4-1.htm
Final results 2WD: http://rally.com.py/Tiempos2018/Rally/8va.Fecha-Carapegua/Etapa2/F2-1.htm
Final results per class: http://rally.com.py/Tiempos2018/Rally/8va.Fecha-Carapegua/Etapa2/CLASE-1.htm
RC2: Gustavo Saba (Škoda Fabia)
RC2N: Agustín Alonso (Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X)
RC2NL: Oscar Napout (Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VIII)
RC3: César Cruz (Honda Civic Type R)
RC4: Diego Domínguez (h) (Peugeot 208)
RC4L: Hugo Cano (Toyota Vitz)
RC5: Nicolás Baeza (Volkswagen Gol)