|Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge: Vasilyev/Zhiltsov and Mini winning in Abu Dhabi.|
Russian Vladimir Vasilyev cruised to a commanding cars victory in the "Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge" today (Thursday). Partnered by Konstantin Zhilstov in a X-raid Mini All4 Racing, Vasilyev took the 244 km Abu Dhabi Aviation SS05 to win by an impressive 47:55 minutes from Poland’s Adam Malysz and Rafal Marton in a Toyota Hilux.
Becoming the second Russian driver to win the Desert Challenge after Leonid Novitskiy in 2010, Vasilyev reached the end of the Abu Dhabi Aviation stage to say: "I'm very happy. I'm sure when we enter the podium it will come home that I've won the Desert Challenge. For me this is definitely the most difficult leg of the FIA Cross Country Rally series. On the last stage there weren't as many dunes and we had to make our own tracks because we didn't want to follow the bikes. The Desert Challenge is the most challenging experience in the FIA World Cup for Cross Country Rallies. It's a very special feeling to win."
A delighted Malysz completed the stage to say: "This is my first World Cup podium so I'm very happy today. I had a sore neck from yesterday but my plan was just to finish with a good pace and tempo, not too fast but enough to finish strongly. It's been great practice for me in the sand and the dunes and will see how many more starts we can manage for the rest of the series."
In one of the most dramatic individual battles of the rally, Czech driver Miroslav Zapletal clung on to third place in his Hummer, edging out the UAE’s Yahya Alhelei by 8 seconds after a valiant effort by the Emirati to snatch the last podium place in his Nissan Pickup.
After adding to a long list of impressive finishes in the Desert Challenge alongside co-driver Khalid Al Kendi, Alhelei said: "It was a tight race between me and Zapletalfor third. After 50kms I caught up with him and took three minutes off him, and we were going head to head up to the second passage control when my engine started to overheat so I had to pull back."
"After that it stopped four times and eventually I lost too much time, but well done to him. He is a great driver. This is my 24th year at the Desert Challenge and I enjoy it every year, competing against my friends. It's a great week and a world-class event that puts the UAE on the big stage."
German driver Stephan Schott and Duchman Eric Van Loon, both driving X-raid Minis, completed the top six in the third round of the 2014 FIA World Cup for Cross Country Rallies for cars.
"We have seen desert rallying at its best and have three very deserving new champions," said Mohammed Ben Sulayem, President of the Automobile and Touring Club of the UAE, the rally organisers, and FIA Vice President.”
Top 10 stage results CARS SS 04 Wednesday
01) Vasilyev/Zhiltsov (RUS/RUS) I X-raid Mini I 02:34:41 I 00:00:00
02) Rakhimbayev/Nikolaev (KZ/RUS) I X-raid Mini I 02:38:25 I 00:03:44
03) Van Loon/Rosegaar (NL/NL) I X-raid Mini I 02:40:14 i 00:05:33
04) Al Shegawi/Bin Mohammed (KSA/KSA) I Buggy I 02:43:41 I 00:09:00
05) Dabrowski/Czachor (PL/PL) I Toyota Overdrive I 02:43:43 I 00:09:02
06) Schott/Schulz (D/D) I X-raid Mini I 02:44:16 I 00:09:35
07) Al Helei/Alkendi (UAE/UAE) I Nissan Proto i 02:44:59 I 00:10:18
08) Varela/Gugelmin (BRA/BRA) I Toyota Overdrive I 02:45:24 I 00:10:43
09) Issabyev/Demyanenko (RUS/RUS) I Toyota Overdrive I 02:45:31 I 00:10:50
10) Malysz/Marton (PL/PL) I Toyota Overdrive I 02:47:00 I 00:12:19
Top 10 overall results CARS SS 04 Wednesday
01) Vasilyev/Zhilstov (RUS/RUS) I X-raid Mini I 17:10:19 I 00:00:00
02) Malysz/Marton (PL/PL) I Toyota Overdrive I 17:58:14 I 00:47:55
03) Zapletal/Marton (CZ/PL) I Hummer H3 Proto I 18:29:58 I 01:19:39
04) Al Helei/Alkendi (AR/AR) I Nissan Pickup Proto I 18:30:06 I 01:19:47
05) Schott/Schulz (D/D) I X-raid Mini I 18:43:56 I 01:33:37
06) Van Loon/Rosegaar (NL/NL) I X-raid Mini I 19:07:51 I 01:57:32
07) Dabrowski/Czachor (PL/PL) I Toyota Overdrive I 19:13:48 I 02:03:29
08) Issabayev/Demyanenko (KZ/RUS) I Toyota Overdrive I 19:39:08 I 02:28:49
09) Varela/Gugelmin (BR/BR) I Overdrive Toyota I 20:44:14 I 03:33:55
10) Rakhimbayev/Nikolaev (KZ/RUS) I X-raid Mini I 21:05:42 I 03:55:23
2014/04/10 | 15:31 CET | ARTICLE: MR/HS/ADDC