The experience talks
A short stage of 310 km with a 286 special after which competitors were satisfied to have crossed the finish line early this morning so they could get some rest before the three race days that are coming from tomorrow, for the second part of the rally.
The day was marked by the various kinds of grounds that riders had to run through along the stage. Some of them did not appreciate the harshness of the stony start, and some others the fast track that took them to the end. So, it was necessary to take the right combination of both, but crossing the desert was cherished by all competitors.
Marc Coma renews a victory after leaving the place to Helder Rodrigues, and reign among the three riders that follow. Either Jordi Viladoms (Yamaha), who started two minutes before, or Jakub Przygonski (KTM) or the opener Helder Rodrigues (Yahama), they all acknowledge that Marc performance was outstanding. “It was impossible to follow Marc at his rhythm”, was the common statement among them, so they were glad to stay focused in the tricky surprises of the race track. “Chaleco” López would have loved to ride with his friends but the casing of his Aprilia played him a bad joke. After his clutch of the first stage, it was the carter´s turn today, the Chilean rider takes it with philosophy hoping to be able to restart tomorrow to continue his “comeback”.
Jean Louis Schlesser gets further
Second victory for Schlesser who just like Marc Coma made stand out his experience. The buggy driver played for a moment during the timed section before letting escape Boris Gadasin to find him later changing a tire… Meanwhile the Russian compatriot, Miroslav Vasiliev was less lucky and rolled over!
The regularity of driver Jun Mistsuhashi (Toyota) paid off and the Japanese/French crew takes the second place of the stage and overall standings. “He drives well, he listens and we don´t have any problem,” explains his co-driver Alain Guehennec.
The Cinotto´s family, Michele, the father, and his two sons, Pietro and Carlo, finished the stage with no problems in their Nissan Pathfinders of Team Dessoude. Team Objetif Dunes, Bernard Touzery and Benoît Maurice, continues their race steady despite of a puncture. Concerning Thierry Magnaldi, complications continue, but he keeps going forward.
Marc Coma (KTM 450): “Personally, it was a very nice day, which allowed me to make the difference, starting 4th this morning. I overtook Jordi (Viladoms), and then Jakub (Przygonski), and reached Helder (Rodrigues) at km 80 of the special. We will keep testing suspensions, it is not new, and we develop them since we got back from last Dakar.”
Jordi Viladoms (Yamaha 450): “After my accident, I worked a lot to improve my physical condition and also the bike: engine, chassis, suspensions… The bike makes me feel comfortable. It is less dangerous than the “big” bike, but we are constantly full gas! Today´s special was difficult with lots of stones and holes over which I couldn´t find a good rhythm. Marc (Coma) took over very fast after the start and I couldn´t catch him because he was way too fast. I tried to stay concentrated. The stage was technical and Marc made the difference, his experience showed off.”
Helder Rodrigues (Yahama 450): “ I started first but it didn´t take long until Marc (Coma) reached me. Then I had to keep my rhythm, he is too fast and prefer to keep everything under control because I have the World Championship title in mind so it is not the moment to take unnecessary risks.” Jakub Przygonki (KTM 450): “I started second this morning and at km 60 I catch Helder. It didn´t take long for Marc to arrive. Then, I felt like something wasn´t going well so I stopped to check everything and I lost 4 minutes. Rhythm was lower than yesterday, but I crossed the finish line all alone.”
Marek Dawroski (KTM 450): “It was quite hard for me today on the stony track. I wasn´t comfortable so I didn´t go fast. I finished but a little bit far behind…” Jacek Czachor (KTM 450): “I was not happy after today´s special; it wasn’t so bad on the stones, so rode prudently. It wasn´t an easy ground.”
Jes Munk (KTM 450): “The stage was rocky at the beginning and then very sandy. I rolled alone most of the time. I am learning lots about navigation but I cannot deny that I followed traces sometimes. The last part of the stage was the best scenery I´ve ever seen, the White Desert is amazing. Besides the bike is doing good and I am feeling great with my new KTM. I love it!”
Edouard Boulanger (Aprilia 450): “It was tricky… rocks hidden in the sand… which was the cause for some riders to fall. I hurt my right wrist. Luckily I got to CP1 and the doctor fixed it with a bandage and I finished 10th. It could be better but I think it´s not bad at all!” Christian Colombo (Aprilia 450): “I was quiet, the first part was stony and fast and dunes were fantastic. The first part of the stage like it was never going to end but then it was fast and I enjoyed a lot. I am glad to be here in my first rally. Discover it in Egypt… I feel lucky.”
Camelia Liparoti (Quad): “I was sick the first day, and since yesterday I am back to normal. Stage two was more like a Dakar stage. Today it was fast but very stony. I long to find dunes again!”
Jean-Louis Schlesser: “Gadasin reached us at km 63, he overtook us and we followed him prudently because of the stones. Finally he had a puncture between km 160 and 170 so we took back the lead until the end. It was, once again, a magnificent stage.”
Jun Mitsuhashi (Toyota Auto Body): “I am glad with our performances. This year Pharaons Rally is a lot harder than last year, but we are doing good until now. It is true that today I didn´t see Jean Louis Schlesser, and the two Protos took our car over but then they had problems so I finished the stage before them. This is race is being great training!”