|Hellas Rally: Tough fights between first SSV, Greece/France/Israel duel in cars.|
What a good amateur-car in combination with a good driver and navigator can perform we could see in the opening stage of the "Hellas Rally Raid" on Tuesday. The locals Dimitriadis / Kalfas (last year leading until the last stage) could win the stage about 67,2 kilometers with their Mitsubishi Pajero V20 in 01:38:40 hours - only 1:38 minutes in front of the powerful Overdrive Toyota Hilux of the French duo Jerome Pelichet and Eugenie Decré.
Third became the Austral-Greek duo Jerie / Athanasiou in their former factory Isuzu D-Max (we reported, +5:51) in front of the Italians Camporese / Terranova (Isuzu Scorpion Proto) and the famous Israelians Heyman / Segal (Segal Proto, +15:32).
From the beginning of the stage we saw a pulsating minute-by-minute fight between the French Overdrive Toyota and the Israelian Segal Proto whilst the later winners Dimitriadis / Kalfas and third Jerie / Athanasiou were in the lower range of the field.
For the French duo, the Hellas Rally is the second event in Greece - last year they had to retire after the half of the race. In 2013 the international experienced crew told us "we have to learn how to drive and handle this kind of rally here" - and this is exactly in good progress for 2014.
The Israelian Team, always pushing to the limit, had a bad start yesterday. "We were driving fast, no question" said navigator Hillel Segal, who is also the constructor of the yellow rallycar. "But I had stomach and felt bad, so I made some navigation mistakes which costs us the leading position. But we will see, tomorrow is a new day. We only lost 15 minutes, which is nothing here. The rally has just begun."
Next to Heyman/Segal, which competed in many rallies like the "Dakar", "Silk Way" or "Pharaons", there are three more cars this year from Israel. The duo Aviv / Izhar started with a British "Rallyraid UK Desert Warrior" and finished 7th (+19:06), the team Shpira / Moldawsky is competing in a FIA T2 (production class) Mitsubishi Pajero V60 (12th, 02:21:40 hours).
Like Heyman/Segal for the second time in Greece is the blue "Shekel Proto" of the crew Nitzan / Dov, looking like a buggy but based also on a Mitsubishi Pajero. "As Mitsubishi the car rolled in the Silk Way Rally," the team told. "So we decided to give him an own new design." But the rocks in the stage were not the best friend of the low car and they lost time after destroying a front tire.
A very good show and the best result in the T2 production cars showed the Italian Roberto Musi and his beautiful navigator Eleonora Dal Pra (this year competing in the Dakar rally in a Mercede Unimog truck). Since last year they are driving together in Musi´s long-station Land Rover Defender Pickup.
Last year Musi also wanted to start - but his "Landy" had no rollcage - so he helped the organization as "Zero-car". This year Musi learned and prepared the car - in the last minute. "The cage was ready one day before we arrived," he reported with a smile - "don´t touch, it´s still warm!" In SS01 they finished 8th with 26:34 minutes to the leader. A great result for the long and "old school" car...
A very bad day had the Italian Isuzu Proto-crew of Vincenzo Cangi and Paolo Manfredini. First they got stuck in a river-crossing and could only get out with the help of some photographers (the car blocked the stage), later they overturned and damaged the front wheels. With the help of some belts they could fix the damage and finish the stage - but with nearly 10 km/h average speed and a limited steering.
In the SSVs, all eyes were on the Austrian "KINI"-team with their leader Heinz Kinigadner. "Kini" showed why he is a biker-legend, he started behind the quads and after some kilometers he overtook the most of them and was definetely the fastest SSV. But in the evening he was in the last position - what happened?
"I had a front crash" he told in the evening. "At the end of the stage the navigation was very tricky. Everybody was searching for the right way. An other SSV crew eventually thought that they were wrong and they made a turn in the stage, driving against the right direction. We crashed frontal with them and our Polaris RZR has a big damage, I also have some pain in my knees. We will try to fix it to continue, but not for Wednesday. We will see."
For his paraplegic son Hannes Kinigadner the day was better. His first rally in a SSV, his first stage - and he finished 5th with only 25:34 minutes to the stage-winner. His team-mate and also paraplegic driver Reinhard Karner finished 8th with +41:11 minutes.
Winner of the day was legendary Josef Machacek from the Czech Republic in his "New Hornet" MRP Buggy with 02:10:57 hours, fantastically fighting with the Arctic Cat of Dusan Randysek (also Czech Republic, +1:02 minutes) and the Bulgarian Martin Ivanov (Polaris RZR, +3:04). In the middle of the stage, all three SSVs were driving in a row together with the later fourth Bulgarian Cvetelin Canev (Polaris RZR, +24:25)...
2014/05/07 | 13:27 CET | ARTICLE: MR/HS