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Desafio Guarani: Gutierrez and Zapag seal stunning 1-2 finish

South Racing rounded off another hectic and impressive weekend’s cross-country rallying activities by sealing a stunning 1-2 finish in Paraguay’s Desafio Guarani, the second round of the prestigious CODESUR Championship, in South America.

Bolivian driver Rodrigo Gutiérrez teamed up with Croatian navigator Tomislav Glavic to claim victory in their Toyosa-backed Toyota Hilux and the Paraguayan duo of Blas Zapag and Rolfi Morales finished 58min 12sec behind their team-mates as runners-up in a second Copetrol Rally Team Toyota Hilux run by South Racing.

The Paraguayan pairing of Thomas Willms and Eduardo Arcondo were a distant third.

The event took place over three demanding legs of 534km, 729km and 248km in length. In a total route of 1,511km, organised by Touring and Automobile Club of Paraguay, 914km were timed against the clock.

The first stage headed out of the Paraguayan capital of Asunción in the direction of a night halt at Coronel Oviedo in east-central Paraguay. Leg two looped around Coronel Oviedo and the third headed on to a finish in Paraguari, 66km from the capital.

“This was another great performance by everyone connected with South Racing and a great result for Rodrigo and Blas,” said South Racing’s managing director Scott Abraham. “Both of our drivers had troubles along the way. Both cars rolled on different stages, but the team was able to repair the cars to enable them to continue. I send a big thanks to everyone concerned for putting in long hours to get the cars ready and to keep them in the race.

“Now we can look forward to the next round of CODESUR when both drivers will race again at the Atacama Rally in Chile at the start of August.”

Earlier in the day, Ricardo Porém, TomᚠOuřednīček, Jürgen Schröder and Fernando Alvarez had finished 10th, 16th, 17th and 18th overall in Spain’s Baja Aragón, round seven of the FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Rallies.

South Racing won the Desafio Guarani, which was then the Paraguayan round of the Dakar Series, with Czech driver Peter Jerie in 2015 at the wheel of a Toyota Hilux. Fernando Alvarez finished fourth on that occasion.

2017 Desafio Paraguay – final positions:
1. Rodrigo Gutierrez (BOL)/Tomislav Glavic (CRO) South Racing Toyota Hilux, 12hrs 16min 27sec
2. Blas Zapag (PAR)/Rolfi Morales (PAR) South Racing Toyota Hilux, 13hrs 14min 39sec
3. Thomas Willms (PAR)/Eduardo Arcondo (PAR) Toyota Runner, 14hrs 14min 16sec
4. Jorge Mansilla (ARG)/Sebastián Cesana (ARG) Volkswagen Amarok, 14hrs 26min 58sec
5. Adolfo Gonzalez (PAR)/Adolfo Gonzalez Junior (PAR) Toyota Hilux, 14hrs 40min 20sec

Neil Perkins,

Marie-France Estenave pour MFE-Live.com

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