The 3rd round of the Romanian Rally Championship, Cluj Rally , was held between 27 and 28th of May 2011, in the mountains around Cluj-Napoca. The start list included 60 crews, that had to compete over 101 km of special stages, all on tarmac. Our friend Marius participated to this event and wrote his impressions for our blog.
The rally started Friday evening with a super special stage held in the parking area of Polus shopping center. This stage was designed to entertain the spectators with controlled slides of the powerful cars that had to run on a very twisted track.
But the most important part of the event took place on Saturday, when the crews had to compete over the traditional stages of Cluj Rally, Dângău and Mărişel. These narrow and twisted mountain roads are loved by both drivers and spectators, some drivers declaring that Cluj Rally is the only true tarmac event in the Romanian Rally Championship.
The day was diveded into 2 loops over these stages. It was a very tight event, the rally leader changing almost after each stage. After the first loop, the leader was Valentin Porcişteanu followed at just 3 seconds by the local favorite, Bogdan Marişca. These 2 drivers battle with all their forces for victory in the last loop, in the end the best time was obtained by Porcişteanu, with a lead of just 9 tenths of a second over Marişca, one of the tightest finish in the championship. The battle in the last special stage was very intense, the winner declared at the end that it was the fastest stage he ever drove in a rally event. Unfortunately the champion en-titre, the Hungarian Gergo Szabo, had some technical problems and could not be involved in the battle for victory.
A very good performance was obtained by the young driver from Cluj-Napoca, Vlad Cosma. He finished 5th overall with his 2 wheel drive Citroen, in front of many more powerful 4 wheel drive cars. Unfortunately a long expected battle for the 2 wheel drive trophy with his rival this year, Bereczki Norbert, did not take place because of the premature retirement of the Hungarian driver.
Photos by Bogdan Pal.