Yury Belevskiy took advantage of the second race of the weekend in Kouvola to win his second RallyX race of his career, but the Volland Racing driver is remaining cautious for the next races.
The Audi S1 driver showed himself to be uncompromising in the second race of the Kouvola weekend. Already quick in Race 1 on Saturday, too much on-track contact prevented Yury Belevskiy from showing what he was capable of.
Despite setting the second fastest lap of Race 1, 0.044s behind Jere Kalliokoski, the former FIA Euro RX3 European Champion had to settle for fourth place in the final.
On the following day, the dynamic was very different, as Belevskiy managed to score his first qualifying heat win of the 2023 season in Q1, while a second place in Q2 was enough to secure him first place in the intermediate standings prior to claiming the final victory.
With three fastest lap times in Q2, semi-final and final, Yury Belevskiy also set the weekend’s record on pure speed, with a lap time of 40.348s.
“We knew we already had the speed to deliver in Race 1, but the track isn’t always easy to get to grips with in Kouvola,” points out Yury.
“In Kouvola, you have to adopt the same approach as on the French championship tracks. To be efficient, you absolutely have to keep the car from sliding. You have to be very clean in terms of driving to perform on this layout, not provoke the car and be precise on the braking points so you can get out of the corners correctly.”
” The trickiest thing to get round is when you come out on top in the first corner, because your rivals have so many options for attacking you on the outside or inside of the track that you absolutely have to stay on your guard and quickly anticipate from where the danger is going to come. I was particularly worried in the semi-final because I knew that Kevin and Oliver Eriksson were going to try and play a team strategy with one of them able to attack me on the inside while the other would try the outside line to get the upper hand. Nevertheless, I managed to get away well thanks to a good start, while having a clear track in front of me allowed me to open up an initial gap without too many problems.”
Although contact between Kevin and Oliver Eriksson on the first corner of the semi-finals made things easier for Yury Belevskiy, the Audi S1 driver quickly got the better of Peter Hedström and Jere Kalliokoski in the final, crossing the finish line with a 2.3s and 4.4s lead over his two rivals respectively.
Now back in second place in the overall standings with only two events left in the 2023 RallyX Nordic season, Yury Belevskiy is nevertheless cautious.
“I don’t know if this success will enable me to approach the next stage of the championship in Norway with more confidence, because I simply don’t know the Grenland circuit. It will be a completely new track for me, while the grand finale at Höljes at the beginning of September will also be quite a challenge, as I’ve only raced once in Supercar on this track,” stresses Yury.
“I’ll be up against rivals who know this track like the back of their hand. And the evolution of the track at Höljes is such that it’s always difficult to anticipate the level of grip we’ll get”
“There are always a few tricks to understand on this track and I know that all my competitors will be able to be fast from the start. For my part, this will be only my second outing there and my first race at the wheel of the Audi S1, since last year I drove the Team Hansen Peugeot 208. Nevertheless, I don’t think the switch from the 208 to the Audi S1 will be a real problem, as I already found myself in this situation last weekend in Kouvola. In the end, we ended up with a similar set-up to the one I had chosen with the Peugeot and this was particularly the case with the differentials”