Rally de la Cordillera second leg showed an impressive list of sudden changes among the front-runners and even the main contenders for the win changed in most of the classes compared to what fans had seen last Saturday.
During the first pass of the opening stage yesterday in the morning, Yesterday, the Hyundai i20 R5 driven by Diego Domínguez left parc fermé as leader (five seconds in front of Gustavo Saba), but during the first pass of the opening stage in the morning, he damaged the steering after hitting a big rock hidden beneath the dust of the inner ratio in a right hand corner. A tyre was also flat in the incident, so Domínguez lost enough time to stop dreaming about a sixth victory in the event based at Eusebio Ayala of which 12 editions have now been held.
As a consequence, Saba (co-driven by Fernando Mussano) emerged overall winner in the Škoda Fabia. The current Paraguayan champion was the man to beat here for a third time, repeating the success he got last year with this same car and back in 2011 with a production Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X.
With the Hyundai delayed to third position, Alejandro Galanti and Leonardo Suaya jumped to second, improving one place what he had got in the Toyota Etios the rally before this one. Despite gearbox problems in the last special stage (12, also Power Stage), he was pleased with the result when he arrived to the finish there, exactly in the site where the Service Park was located.
Saba’s total time was 1h31m42s30/100, 1m47s61/100 better than Galanti in the RC2 division and 2m57s08/100 better than Diego Domínguez after a 269-kilometer itinerary. Behind them, the event showed Miguel Zaldívar (in a Fabia with a filing fuel pump near the finish), Luis Ortega (Škoda) and Augusto Bestard with the best-positioned Ford Fiesta in the top-6. His team mate Luis Maldonado (h) retired with low oil pressure just 500 meters from the leg start.
Agustín Alonso and Diego Fabiani recovered very well along these six stages and took a nice RC2N win in their Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X, 49s98/100 clear of Gonzalo Ortega. Mauricio González filled the podium. Carlos Cortázar had started first in the road, but a few problems saw him fall to fourth position ahead of César Martínez (h).
There were two survivors in RC2NL. Brothers Elías and Gerardo Benítez (Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX) were ready to take on the lead when César Martínez was left empty-handed. Oscar Napout (Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VIII) finished 8m04s74/100 behind them.
Juan Martín Masi was RC3 victor in his Citroën DS3 Max, the best front-wheel drive car (17th overall). A gap of 7m35s30/100 separated Masi from the Toyota Corolla of Riyosuke Shima, while Jorge Ocampos got third in a Honda Civic. Diego Domínguez (h) was the only entrant to make it to the end in RC4 in his reliable Peugeot 208 R2. In the RC5 class, the Volkswagen Gol pair of Nicolás Baeza and Mauricio Salinas appeared first and second with a 12m55s50/100 gap.
There were 51 starters and 24 finishers. Rally de la Cordillera finished exactly on the same day (12th August) in which the Acosta Ñu battle celebrated its 149th anniversary.
Leg 2 winners
Overall: Gustavo Saba 4, Diego Domínguez 1, Alejandro Galanti1.
RC2: Gustavo Saba 4, Diego Domínguez 1, Alejandro Galanti 1.
RC2N: Agustín Alonso 6.
RC2NL: Elías Benítez 6.
RC3: Fabrizio Zaldívar 5, Álvaro Yaluk 1.
RC4: Diego Domínguez (h) 6.
RC4L: Gustavo Benítez 5, Mauricio Salinas 1.
RC5: Nicolás Baeza 3, Gustavo Gamarra 2, Félix Bareiro 1.
Rally total stage winners
Overall: Gustavo Saba 6, Diego Domínguez 5, Alejandro Galanti 1.
RC2: Gustavo Saba 6, Diego Domínguez 5, Alejandro Galanti 1.
RC2N: Agustín Alonso 9, César Martínez (h) 2, Carlos Cortázar 1.
RC2NL: Elías Benítez 11, Francisco Delgado 1.
RC3: Fabrizio Zaldívar 9, Juan Martín Masi 2, Álvaro Yaluk 1.
RC4: Diego Domínguez (h) 11, Wilfred Klassen 1.
RC4L: Gustavo Benítez 10, Diego García 1, Mauricio Salinas 1.
RC5: Nicolás Baeza 8, Gustavo Gamarra 2, Alexander Paniagua 1, Félix Bareiro 1.
Final results: http://rally.com.py/Tiempos2018/Rally/6ta.Fecha-Cordillera/Etapa2/CLASE-2.htm
Photo: ML Photosport.