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Libya Rally Raid Special-Newssection / Non-FIA Semi/Amateur





This is the single-news section of the marathonrally.com special of the Libya Rally Raid 2008, one of the most interesting Non-FIA Semi/Amateurrallies. To see all news please use the link under the article or navigate with the left main-navigation.









Libya Rally Raid: Libyan Rally with 600 kms warmup.






Getting to the South is the main theme at the start of all rallies in Libya - since the great dunes wait for the competitors only there. But the Southern part of the country is far away - and the transfer sectons are boring. So the organisers of the Libya Rally Raid decided to mix things: first 160 km transfer on tarmac roads, then the rest as special stage 1. To make it more interesting, it was not short but long - 397 km fast speed. So the cews covered almost 600 km yesterday.

"This was like at an FIA event, like at the Dakar" told us Belgian Berhard Dhont who took part in the Dakar many times. The special had two big parts: 70% on hard and stony tracks and 30% sand and dunes - all this at 30 degrees with some wind. Especially the tracks were quite difficult: we had every kind of stones: small, big, with dangerous edges... It’s no wonder that there were lots of tire problems on the stage. And don’t forget the very fine, fesh fesh type sand which gets in everywhere...

After the tracks came the first encounter with sand. The entry was a mini dune field with Tunisian style small and very soft dunes. Who had bad luck, had to shovel for the first time - who was smart, drove left or right through the bigger dunes where the sand was harder. The last kilometres of the special run on hard and long dunes. "This was great, nice dune crossings without digging, a fantastic start" said Andreas Wulf who on Tuesday not in the race but still on the race track drove.

Dakar specialist Bernhard Dhont won the stage with an enormous advantage. "This man is a top driver" said his team mate Hermle, " He has a weaker car but he has the experience from FIA rallies and he forms a perfect team with his co-driver. As we were running in a wadi and thought that we couldn’t be faster, he passed us impressively." Dhont himself is speaks calmly about the day. "I love amateur rallies, they are not so stressing, smaller and more homely than the FIA events. Above all I love to navigate for myself, not only follow one of the dozens of traces. And this I can get only at the amateur rallies" so the Belgian who drives a Mercedes G320 rented from German team ORC.

The times speak for themselves: Bernhard Dhont achieved a superb stage victory with a bit less than 4 hours while the second placed Eisenmann brothers (Toyota Landcruiser) needed 6 hours and 48 minutes to complete the stage, just in front of the crew Kessler / Schreier who clocked a time of 6 hours and 56 minutes in their Mercedes ML.

The results list was a bit shaken also by some time penalties for missed CPs and exceeding the maximum time. "The road book was perfect and was precise to the metre" says Matthias Krüger from Daktec Team who also drive the same track with his assistance MAN. "I was a bit angry for not driving in race as it such a great fun."

This was confirmed also by Malte Asmus, who would be on the second place if they wouldn’t have missed the first CP. "The road book was OK, but if somebody didn’t concentrate for one second it was easy to miss the road. We simply drove to the GPS point of the second CP, so we missed the first one and became a time penalty. But doesn’t matter, we are here above all for having fun and to see the big dunes.

But there was also some excitement with consequences - teething troubles of a new rally. The night camp was situated between some fantastic dunes - which leaded to some logistical problems. The catering truck and the fuelling truck couldn’t cross the dunes and had to stop some kilometres away from the camp. As a result, the cars couldn’t be refuelled and the rally caravan had to do without dinner.

Together with the truck convoy also the assistance truck of the ORC team got stuck in the dunes but after a long drive and helping the other crews the truck arrived in the camp only in the middle of the night. As a result, the three cars of the team (out of which two were damaged) couldn’t be repaired on time.

What to do? After long discussions the rally officials decided to have a rest day on Wednesday and to move the camp to the standing trucks. "We had a long journey, a long and hard rally day, we want all participants to be treated equally and we know that there was a logistic problem. That’s why we made a decision like this, which finally was accepted by all participants" told us organiser Wolfgang Pasetti.

On Wednesday the camp was finally moved to the fuel and catering truck which were waiting in a dune valley. The teams used the unawaited extra time for repairs and some tests in the nearby dunes. The originally planned section to Camp Africa was moved to Thursday. On the stage the crews will first have 81 km transfer the a 158 km long special stage. In the special there will be dunes as high as 400 metre.

Tuesday ended in flames. Before caterer Pit Frey reached his "parking position" in the dunes, he and his team had a small stop 19 km from the finish. Because of still unknown reasons, their Jeep Cherokee caught fire and burned out in several minutes. "Fortunately we managed to get everyone to a safe place in time" says Frey "and everyone managed to save his most important belongings."

2008/03/20 | 19:36 CET | Editor: MR/HS/LRR-Liveteam






















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