Tuesday, 11 June 2019 18:18

On the stages of Monbat Rally Sliven 2019 with Daniel Popov

Daniel Popov is one of the most talented young Bulgarian rally drivers. Last year he competed in the ADAC Opel Rallye Cup in Germany. Daniel was kind enough to analyze the special stages included in the 39th Monbat Rally Sliven program.

Special stage 1/4 "Ablanovo" - 14,59 km.

Monbat Rally Sliven kicks off with one of the most emblematic stages in the Bulgarian automobile sport - the route known as "Bulgarka". This year the stage is named Ablanovo in the first day of the rally. The first part consists of a number of hairpin turns, separated by sequences of fast corners. The stage ascents quickly so keeping the corner speed is crucial, as a slight error will affect your time even more than usual. Coming near the end of the stage is a cult place called "The Tree", where large number of spectators are gathered each year. From there till the end the stage gets very fast, with corners flowwing from one to another with almost no straights between them. This is probably the stage with the highest grip in the event. Drivers can attack from the very beginning, but they must keep in mind that there are two more stages coming up in the loop, with one being nearly 25 kilometers.

Special stage 2/5 "Tchukata" - 9,38 km.

 

The first kilometers of "Tchukata" are very fast, with long straights and light bends with good grip until we reach the main road between Sliven and Itchera. From there greasy asphalt awaits the crews, with long corners on a wide road. Drivers must quickly adapt to the change to the slippery surface. Towards the end of the stage there are a few corners that can be cut and a lot of gravel gets pulled out on the road and that can be very insidious, especially for the crews further down the starting list.

Special stage 3/6 "Rakovo" - 24,75 km.

 

The longest stage on the first day of the rally - nearly 25 kilometers. A stage that varies between 4 completely different parts. In the first part the route resembles that of "Bulgarka" one - good grip and a couple of hairpins. The second part has very long straights with several chicanes, which means intensive braking from maximum speed to an almost still position. This will load the brakes even more, and we definitely need them for the downhill coming up. The third part is the most challenging one - narrow road with lots of bumps and dirt in many of the turns. These few kilometers are usually part of the absolute classic "Stara Reka" stage. Here a strong attack can lead to a good difference in the stage. The last part of the stage is a wide and sloping route with slow turns. At first glance the last part of the stage may seem harmless, but tires and brakes will already be at their limit and it is very easy to make a mistake. Temperatures will be high, the concentration of the crews must be unshakable. At this stage, serious differences could be obtained.

Super Special Stage 7 "Sliven" - 3,39 km.

 

The day ends with a very pleasant and attractive stage in the city itself. A lot of spectators are gathered making the atmosphere great. Although it is intended primarily for the fans attraction,drivers should not brake focus. As we know, you cannot win the rally on such stages, but you may certainly thorw it all away.

Speciasl stage 8 "Trapoklovo" - 11,84 km.

 

A brand new stage lies ahead at the start of day two. It is fast and the road gets quite narrow in its closing kilometers. It is a rare sight for Bulgarian crews to recce a completely unknown route. Good preparation here will be key. There are not many kilometers left until the end of the rally and the battles must start as early as the first corner of the day.

Special stage 9 "Itchera" - 9,28 km.

 

The stage uses the same route as "Tchukata" stage, but in the opposite direction. There will be gravel on some places from the day before, which will further contribute to the low grip of the road. In the latter part the grip is high. Again, as in the "Tchukata" stage, drivers must quickly adapt and trust the grip and their tires to attack as much as possible.

Special stage 10 "Bulgarka" - 10,18 km.

 

This is the first stage of the rally but in the opposite direction. Although not very long, Bulgarka is hevy on the cars - downhill, intensive braking and abrasive asphalt. It's hard to win many seconds here, but it's easy to lose them. It is not by chance that Bulgarka is one of the most respected and liked stages among the crews.

Special stage "Sinite kamani" - 33,50 km.

 

The biggest challenge for crews and cars is the final stage for the rally - 33 kilometers, which must be passed during the hottest hours of the day. The first part of the stage begins with a greasy asphalt and long turns that keep a constant pressure on the tires. The grip in the second part is good, the speed is higher and the corners come quickly one after the other. The last part of the stage is the Bulgarka stage, with the difference that the crews have already done 23 kilometers under full atack. Drivers should keep in mind the brakes and tires along the way, as in the last few kilometers in the quick descent to the finish, all will be on the limit. At this stage all the gained time or lost seconds may be easily vanished. The results from all the previous 10 stages up to that point can be radically changed in those last 33 kilometers. This will definitely be the most difficult stage in the Bulgarian Rally Championship for the last few years.

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