Martin Surilov / Zdravko Zdravkov (Citroen C3 Rally2) are the leaders after the first day of the 52nd edition of the “Bulgaria” rally. The duo from MS Motorsport reached the finish line with a lead of 23.7 seconds over Miroslav Angelov / Georgi Gadzhev (Skoda Fabia R5 Rally2 evo). Simone Tempestini / Sergiu Itu (Porsche 997 RGT) finished in third place.
The battle between Plamen Staikov (Skoda Fabia R5), with navigator Rafi Kadir, and Martin Surilov continued into the afternoon stages. They once again exchanged stage victories, but despite their efforts, Staikov couldn’t dethrone Surilov from the top of the standings.
In the final special stage of the day, SS7 Shemshevo 2, Staikov and Kadir suffered a gearbox issue in their car, unfortunately ending their chances of victory in rally Bulgaria.
“We had problems with gear shifting as early as the first two afternoon stages. In the last section, the car started to shift gears by itself, and we decided to stop. We don’t know what the problem is. It could be mechanical or electrical,” commented Plamen Staikov.
“I’m really sorry for Plamen,” said leader Martin Surilov. “Our battle was very interesting. I believe this is not the way a competition should be decided. Yes, I know it’s part of the sport, but I’m sorry for what happened to them. Until then, everything was going as expected. We knew we might be slower in some places and tried to reduce the differences. Tomorrow we will rethink our strategy because we don’t want to win the competition at any cost. Our main goal is to win the championship.”
Staikov / Kadir’s retirement opened up an opportunity for Miroslav Angelov / Georgi Gadzhev to move up in the standings. The crew from ASK Prestige now occupies second place and managed to secure their first stage victory in the competition. Simone Tempestini, who now has a real chance to secure his first podium in Bulgaria, completed the day without any problems.
Anton Titov / Alexander Spirov (Skoda Fabia R5) did not challenge their Romanian rivals who were not far ahead, and they remained in fourth place.
The fastest crew today among front-wheel-drive cars was Nikola Mishev / Petar Sivov (Peugeot 208 Rally4). They managed to build a lead of 30.7 seconds by the end of the day over Denis Stanchovski / Nedialko Sivov (Peugeot 208 R2).
The final day of the 52nd Bulgaria rally covers a distance of 54.69 competitive kilometers divided into six special stages.
Photo: Ivaylo Starchev