|Hellas Rally: Dry or wet, fast or slow - Rally startet Tuesday with a tough stage.|
On Tuesday the "Hellas Rally Raid" in Greece started with the first special with 163 kilometers overall, splitted in two liaisons and one timed section with 67,3 kms. As expected, even the first day should be tough for some participants. Rough tracks on gravel, crossing the first mountains with a lot of rocks and some watercrossings, in some parts tricky navigation - and bad weather again, but not for everybody.
Especially the first bikes had luck and could start under dry and cloudy conditions. But then it started to rain - heavily to rain. The tracks were flooded with water, some small ditches transformed in rivers within some minutes. To drive in the rain was one problem - but to drive after the rain extraordinary. The dry tracks went extremely slippy. The quads could handle it with drifting but especially the SSV and cars were forced to reduce the speed down to "pedestrian speed" at some points.
In the bikes, all eyes were focussed on the "new" favorites like David Fretigné (France, Yamaha), Prata Pedro Bianchi (Portugal, Husqvarna) or Doron Winter (Israel, KTM) - how will they handle the Greek conditions? The answer: So and so. Whilst Fretigné had to find his way and became 12th, we saw a nice battle between some amateur- and FIM-stars. Interesting: Under the eyes of KTM sport-boss Heinz Kinigadner no KTM made it in the Top 3.
Winner of the day was GasGas expert Marc Guasch from Spain with 01:29:11 hours, followed by Christian Pastori from Italy (Beta, +47 seconds) and Pedro Bianchi (Husqvarna, +1:30 mins). The Top 5 were completed by the Italian Roberto Barbieri (Beta, +1:50) and the best KTM with the Austrian Matthias Walkner (+1:58).
"I had luck," said Christian Pastori after the race. "I could manage the stage without any rain, so I could drive faster." Czech driver and Rally-organizer Jiri Vasatko, riding a historic Honda XL600LM, was catched by the rain and finished 90th with +51:07 minutes: "The rain was really strong. You had to slow down and concentrate not to crash, especially in the mountains it was extreme. In the end of the stage the navigation was a little disturbing, you could see riders driving in all directions. But overall it was a nice day," the Czech reported.
The "family-battle" of the both Austrian actor-brothers Tobias Moretti and Gregor Bloeb was also interesting. In their first race after the "Africa Eco Race", especially Moretti had a great day and finished 20th (+17:21) whilst his brother managed to finish the stage on 44th position (+26:54).
In the quads, especially the first four riders were fighting in fast speed, lead by the Slovenian Eddy Jerak with his Arctic Cat 1000, who won the stage with 01:49:52 hours, 2:27 minutes in front of the "flying Greek" George Metaxas (Yamaha Raptor) and 6:24 mins in front of the Dutch Frank Boss (Yamaha Raptor). The top 5 were completed by the two Dutchmen Jan-Willem Goedhart (Can Am, +8:33) and Jan Foppen (Can Am, +9:04).
The Tuesday evening was short for the participants: "Wake up early, you have to start at 4:30 in the morning" the organization announced. Competitors have to drive three parts on Wednesday. After a liaison of 60,36 kms the first timed stage is about 113 kms, followed by a second liaison (26,13 kms) and stage (77,62 kms). Finally after a third liaison (91,08 kms) the third stage will be 61,58 kms long followed by a last liaison (21,91 kms).
2014/05/07 | 11:03 CET | ARTICLE: MR/HS