No Surprises for Coma, Vladimir Vasiliev comes in!
The start of Pharaons Rally´s first stage was celebrated today next to the Pyramids. Competitors launched the adventure into the Egyptian desert for the first 470 km between Cairo and Tibniya and, as they shared at the bivouac, it wasn’t an easy job to complete it. A hard day for Chaleco Lopez in bikes and Boris Gadassin in cars.
The bike race has already its leader personified by Marc Coma. The Spaniard opened the track for the selective section of 356 km. Then, the rider showed off his great control over the tracks and his KTM that he didn´t ride since Sardinia Rally. Behind him, war was declared… with a Jordi Viladoms particularly fast on his Yamaha. The Catalonian rider, Coma´s former team mate who suffered an accident in Sardinia, proved his force by finishing second. Third was the Poland rider Jakub Przygonski (KTM 450) followed by the World Championship leader, Helder Rodrigues (Yamaha 450). Hard day for “Chaleco” López, whose clutch stop working at km 260 km, while he was trying to take the lead with Marc Coma and Jakub Przygonski.
In cars, the surprised was brought by the Russian driver Vladimir Vasiliev on his G-Force Proto (7 liters Nissan Pick Up) with his outstanding time. Exceptional in the tracks, he left Jean-Louis Schlesser, 2010 winner, 30 seconds behind. By winning this first stage, the Russian crew must take the hard task of opening the road in front of the Frenchman. Miroslav Zapletal (BMX X3) get the third best time in front of Jun Mitsuhashi´s Toyota, accompanied by Alain Guehennec. The loss of two cylinders limited the injuries within the race as he places himself fifth, 27´48” from his compatriots.
Each one has its own day!
Marc Coma: “This first stage wasn’t easy, there was lots of off track and the stage was varied. The bike had a great behavior and I am feeling good on it, the engine is great. There were some visibility problems because of the dust, but it was fine.”
Jordi Viladoms : “This is my first race after my fall in Sardinia. I couldn´t make much of cross country and we worked a lot in the engine after Tunisia so I am here to test its maximum performance. I took this day to get in shape, and now we need to test it in order to get it to its highest point, so even if we break it, it will be fine.”
Jakub Przygonski: “I´ve been here for the last three years and today´s stage was harder than the last two. It was dangerous; there were holes and no place for navigation mistakes. There were hard stony tracks and very fast too. I got to 149 km/h!”
Marek Dabrowski: “This is the first time I race with the KTM 450 and I think this new generation bike is just great, it is lighter and by the end of the stage you feel the difference. It is true that it is faster in the open desert with the 690 bike but now that is not so common, so after I won the Open Class Championship in Sardinia, this is my first run with the 450 before the Dakar.”
Vladimir Vasiliev: “I was a little bit afraid of the sand. I didn´t think it was so fast, but I went calm because I wanted to avoid making any mistakes in this first stage. I overtook many drivers but it wasn´t so difficult because there was some dust but the wind took it away.”
Jean Louis Schlesser: “It was a rough stage, and very demanding in navigation. As we opened today, we had some doubts at a moment, it wasn´t easy for a first stage! At the beginning the sand was soft and then it was better. Besides that, we had the opportunity to go through amazing landscapes. It was fantastic.”
Miroslav Zapletal: “Schlesser beat us for more than 10 minutes, but it doesn´t really matters because today we had decided to take the stage a little bit slowly because we have a small assistance car and not too many spare parts. The stage was nice but very bumpy some times, like if someone was beating my head with a hummer (Zapletal had a spinal cord operation after an accident in Dakar 2010). Navigation was hard and we got lost for about 3 km but then we got back on the right road.”
Boris Gadasin: “I am not so happy because we lost two cylinders while going on Cairo´s road to the start, so our car was not so powerful as we wanted, but even after that, we enjoyed the stage. “