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17 June 2003 - 14:11
The Battle of the Balkans About to Begin
Rally Bulgaria - 5th round of ERC (coefficient 20)
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The 5th Round of the European Rally Championships begins in Borovetz last friday, 13/06/03, at 1900 hrs. It is The 34th Rally Bulgaria and it is the second year that the event has been held at the modern ski resort in the Rila Mountains, which is 70 km from the capital Sofia. The Bulgaria Rally was an event that is made up of 13 stages, done over a period of three days. One stage is held on Friday and six stages are done on both Saturday and Sunday. The stages has a total timed distance of 289.24 kilometres and was taking place on a rather fast asphalt surface, with changing road conditions. Sometimes the road was very clean and offers good grip and at other places it was very slippery. The Rally Bulgaria is a coefficient 20 event.

Bruno Thiry, Bastos Peugeot 206 WRC, is the favourite for the event and he was the first driver over the start podium.  He moved immediately to the first and only stage of the day, a 3.04 km affair in and around Borovetz.

“There were no problems with the shakedown and the car is running well,” said a relaxed Thiry. “It will be a fast rally but not as quick as in Poland,” he added.

Evgeny Vasin in the Russian Itera Peugeot 206 WRC, has driven the rally on three occasions in the past, with his best result being  4th overall and 2nd in F2 in 1993. “The stages are wider than in Poland but some are very slippery, especially No.4 tomorrow,” he said.

The main local opposition is likely to come from Krum Donchev, Peugeot 306 16s and Jasen Popov in a Skoda Octavia WRC.

“I know that today is Friday 13th, but I am not superstitious,” smiled Thiry, “In fact I don’t worry about things like that. Come to think of it, I am staying in room 713. I have come here to win and to close the gap to Miguel Campos in the European Championships to 40 points. If I can do that then Belgium should be very interesting,.” added Thiry.

Two of the favorites for first place was not participated in rally “Bulgaria”. The leader in the European championship Miguel Campos from Portugal, who had to start with number 1 at the last moment stated that he will not participate in rally “Bulgaria”. His team “Peugeot Total Silver Team SG” explained that because of some logistic problems Miguel Campos will not be able to arrive in Borovetz. Campos has revised his driving schedule and now plans to go to the next event in the European Championships - Ypres in Belgium in two weeks.

The winner from last year Leszek Kuzaj, who is number 3 in the start list, informed the headquarters that after the crash in rally “Poland” his car “Subaru Impreza” is heavily damaged. Because of that reason Kuzaj will not start.

The weather forecast was sunny and warm with the temperatures around 30 c. Fortunately, Borovetz is 1350 m above sea level and it was a little cooler.


 

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Next:
Thiry Opens Up A Useful Lead – 17 June 2003 - 14:12
Victory for Thiry in Rally Bulgaria – 17 June 2003 - 14:20
Danes Cross Bulgaria On Their Way To Laos – 31 August 2003 - 12:43
Juan Pablo Montoya in Bulgaria – 26 May 2004 - 10:00
The new BMW 1 Series to fly through Eastern Europe – 04 June 2004 - 16:18

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