G-Force Motorsport

First Round of World Cup Yields to Gadasin

Thursday, 03 March 2011 12:56

_MG_7092For 2011 two championships, the short two-day Baja and the much longer desert cross-country Rally Raids have been merged together to make the rather long-winded FIA World Cup for Cross Country Bajas. It might not be implicitly implied in the name but this can be thought of as a mini Dakar series and several big names were at last weekend’s season opening Italian Baja… the Dakar legend Jean-Louis Schlesser in his self-built buggy, the reigning Cross Country Champion Leonid Novitski and German Mathias Kahle in the stunning new SAM Mercedes 35CC, fresh from Dakar victory in the Buggy class.


Due to the incredibly heavy rains in the region the stages had to be drastically shortened because the rivers swelled the to unfordable depths, but on tracks so wet that cars needed some capabilities of boats tens of thousands of spectators came to see the cars over the many jumps, airborne against the backdrop of the snow-covered Italian Alps… but it wasn’t the ‘big’ names they saw taking control of the event… leaving everyone stunned by his totally dominating performance was St Petersburg’s own son Boris Gadasin. As usual he took it fairly easy on the first stage getting comfortable with the set up of the car and the conditions, but then put his foot down to blitz the field for five consecutive stages, opening up a minute lead.


IMG_6693Sixty seconds might not seem much, but it was impressive as the course was so short. “It was hard because the stages were so short that you just couldn’t make a single mistake,” said Gadasin. “Slip a little wide and you’d be in one of the many ditches at the side of the roads, or one puncture and you’d be in 10th place,”

But while Novitsky was driving a semi-works X-Raid BMW, Gadasin was driving the car that he’d designed, developed, built and set-up himself and his team which has just two mechanics. Even when he drove cautiously on the final two stages Novitsky only managed to take back a scant couple of seconds… but it was Russians 1-2 at the top of the leaderboard, proving beyond doubt the calibre of this country’s off-road drivers.

Schlesser slithered to fifth in his rear-wheel drive buggy, a vehicle not suited at all to the tight muddy lanes. “Just wait until we get to Abu Dhabi,” he smiled as the dunes are where the lightweight buggy is really at home. 

IMG_6654Further down the field a special mention is due for Vladimir Vaslilev in only his second ever competitive drive. But after a winter of being tutored by Gadasin after the fifth stage was in an amazing 9th position in his rented G-Force Proto, eventually finishing an impressive 11th.

Next week is the start of the first Cross Country raid in the deserts of Abu Dhabi. The dunes are what the Schlesser buggy was designed for and where Novitsky is the reigning champion. Double points are on offer so you can be sure that the competition is going to be hot!

Text by Robb Pritchard