|OiLibya Rally of Morocco: First stagewin for Chicherit, Lepekhov rolled MPR10.|
A nonstop line of 280 kilometers, the third leg in Morocco on Wednesday was a showcase for speed - and pleasure. They were several passes to cross then the Maharch pass to find. On wet and sometimes muddy tracks, following heavy overnight rain, the co pilots had a double task: Not to get lost and, above all, avoid the many difficulties on the slopes leading to ultrafast Fort Zguilma.
With more than a half an hour lead over teammate Russian Leonid Novitsky in the overall, Stéphane Peterhansel (BMW X3CCC) spent most of this third stage in the company of another X-raid team: Guerlain Chicherit and Michel Perin. Leaving the initiative to the quadruple free ride ski world champion, Peterhansel and Cottret just followed the tracks. So, Chicherit gave himself the first victory and back into the top 10 overall.
"This was a nice and fast leg today" said Chicherit. "We overtook Stéphane midway, and then we rode together to the finish. The stage win is a pleasure, even if now we are concentrating with Michel on teamwork in the cockpit so as to refine our reflexes." Peterhansel said: "With the rain last night, it was possible to follow Guerlain in the second half of the stage without eating his dust. We are now going to hold back slightly and proceed to other tests, as this car will be in the next Dakar and we don’t want to damage it."
Leonid Novitsky clings to his second place overall, while the Polish Kristof Holowczyc accompanied by Belgian Fortin consolidate their third place, despite some spectacular lift offs. "I found this leg a bit long at times. This made me think those runs in Mauritania. But it was another good test for us, even if we went flying a few times" the Polish Holowczyc driver told.
First behind the BMW armada, Jean-Luc and Jean Brucy Blanchemain (Optimus Buggy) were able to contain Patrick Sireyjol’s (Bowler Wildcat) onslaught, after yesterdays troubles in the Chegaga dunes. "We almost gave up yesterday with a broken rear axle, today was another day, a few thrill along the way, but happy with the result" the French Sireyjol said.
Jerome Pélichet Decré and Eugenie (MD Springbok Buggy), always clinging to their 4th place overall, Pascal Thomas and Alex Winocq (Optimus Buggy) and the Chilean Boris Garafulic (Nissan Navara) complete the top 10 of the day.
The Russian rally driver Mikhail Lepekhov (Mitsubishi MPR10) probably pulled off the most spectacular stunt of the day. Trying at all costs to overtake a quad, 500 meters from the finish line, he literally flew over a bump, rolled his car three times and luckily landed on the wheels. The ex-factoray Mitsubishi will probably find it difficult to continue this great adventure. "We were behind this quad" the Russian told. "I wanted to overtake, I had a clear 500 meters and the then car went into a front roll. It's my entire fault. I was too nervous!"
Another "roller" involving the Frenchmen Pascal Bourgeois and Dominique Gibon (GTR Renovatio buggy) on the trail to Fort Zguilma. Fortunately, more fear than harm for the team who were quickly supported by the medical team.
In the T2 category, reserved for production cars, the Russian Kuznetshov (Mitsubishi) still leads the ball ahead of the Frenchman Jean-François Perez (Toyota No. 330) and Daniel Dominguez (Mitsubishi).
In the Trucks, Portugal´s Elisabete Jacinto accompanied by Belgian Charly Gotlib and his compatriot Marco in their blue MAN are confident and prepared for tomorrow’s Chegaga tracks. Their biggest rival, the Hungarian Kovacs (Scania), suffered a broken transfer case, thus conceded more than two hours and could even be forced to withdraw if the Qualisport team mechanics could not fix this major problem.
Daily results of Stage 3
01) Chicherit/Perin (F/F) I X-raid BMW X3 CC I 02:27:04
02) Noviskiy/Schulz (RUS/D) I X-raid BMW X3 CC I 02:28:17
03) Peterhansel/Cottret (F/F) I X-raid BMW X3 CC I 02:29:15
04) Holowczyc/Fortin (PL/F) I X-raid BMW X3 CC I 02:30:01
05) Leal dos Santos/Fiuza (PT/PT) I X-raid BMW X3 CC I 02:39:50
06) Blanchemain/Brucy (F/F) I Buggy I 02:50:17
07) Sireyjol/Beguin (F/F) I Bowler I 02:56:59
08) Pelichet/Decre (F/F) I Buggy I 02:57:57
09) Thomasse/Winocq (F/F) I Buggy MD I 02:59:54
10) Garafulic/Lichteuchter (CH/F) I Nissan I 03:02:39
Overall results after Day 3
01) Peterhansel/Cottret (F/F) I X-raid BMW X3 CC I 08:44:11
02) Noviskiy/Schulz (RUS/D) I X-raid BMW X3 CC I 09:16:42
03) Holowczyc/Fortin (PL/F) I X-raid BMW X3 CC I 09:27:30
04) Pelichet/Decre (F/F) I Buggy I 11:05:05
05) Sireyjol/Beguin (F/F) I Bowler I 11:13:46
06) Lachaume/Schurger (F/F) I Bowler I 11:22:17
07) Davoy/Guehennec (F/F) I B-Chevrolet I 12:06:04
08) Thomasse /Winocq (F/F) I Buggy MD I 12:21:20
09) Leal dos Santos/Fiuza I (PT/PT) X-raid BMW X3 CC I 12:26:24
10) Garafulic/Lichteuchter I (CH/F) Nissan I 12:42:53
2010/10/20 | 23:14 CET | EDITOR: MR/HS/NPO