|OiLibya Rally of Morocco: Peterhansel and Despres the first stage-winners.|
Mountainous, winding and rocky tracks followed by sandy dunes all the way to Foum Zguid, then it was full throttle to the finish line in Tagounite: The Organizers called it "The unavoidable", this first stage of the OiLybia Rally of Morocco will leave indelible memories in the minds of all competitors. Three hundred and ten kilometers on the clock, which for many of them, were much, much more than just a warm-up.
It was as predictable as the sun shining over Tagounite (the arrival village of this first stage): The X-Raid team succeeded. Leaving first this morning, Stéphane Peterhansel and Jean-Paul Cottret (BMW X3CC) escaped, relegating their closest teammates, twenty minutes behind them. And yet, if you count the four flat tires and stopping at the assistance park, Leonid Novitsky and by German Adreas Schulz, one can estimate that despite a rougher style, the Russian has been almost on a par with the leader.
Unfortunately for the X-Raid team, the BMW X3CC with Guerlain Chicherit and Michel Perin was announced immobilized at kilometer 180 with serious mechanical problems. They were joined by the Portuguese Leal Dos Santos (BMW X3 No. 308), Good news for other competitors obtaining unexpected classification of this first step.
This was particularly the case for Patrick Sireyjol (Bowler) author of a near-perfect rally and an unexpected 4th place, just ahead of the Springbok MD Rally Sport driven for the first time by the duo-Pélichet Decré , in high spirits but with a faulty GPS! A few concerns for the Yellow MD Rally Sport team buggies with cylinders, pipes and starter problems for Jean-Luc Blanchemain and Jean-Marc Davoy, conceding precious minutes on the track.
Ditto for Pascal Thomas and Alex Winocq (Buggy Optimus MD No. 303 mechanical problems costing them nearly 2 hours. Tenth car on arrival, the Russian Kuznetsov, accompanied by Konstantin Zhiltsov (Mitsubishi Pajero Re Autoklub No. 321) who signs the victory of the day in the T2 category reserved for production vehicles before the Toyota Ricopat No. 329 of the French Perez and grazing.
In the Trucks, the giant Hungarian Miklos Kovacs (Scania Qualisport No. 401) and his impressive truck pushed tenth in the absolute scratch in the car/trucks class. The Portuguese Elisabete Jacinto (MAN Oleoban No. 400)’s eagerness was punished by a double puncture (at km 26 and 126) and a navigational error which that cost her 2nd place for the benefit of the other MAN's French Richard Gonzales.
In the bikes, they went ahead and stayed there.... Between the start and finish, just the order changed. Cyril Despres and Marc Coma signed a resounding double act for KTM 450’s debut in competition; just a little hesitation gave victory to for the man who won the last SA-Dakar.
For his first special stage in six months, Cyril Despres shows a magnificent return to power ahead of his Spanish teammate. Behind the two leaders, is Dutchman Frans Verhoeven who puts his BMW G450 RR (Team Speedbrain ) into third position, he is also making a promising debut in the Moroccan desert.
Same feeling, same satisfaction for Yamaha Motor France, the new YZF cross ridden by Olivier Pain did extremely well. That was the good news! For all the other competitors of the rally in the bike category this first day was riddled with worries. Small and insignificant to some, and dramatically unfortunate for others...
Navigational problems for David Fretigne (BMW G450RR) and Portugal's Helder Rodrigues (Yamaha 450 WRF). Ditto for the Spaniard Jordi Viladoms who, in his first special on a Yamaha, was time checked in the lead at CP1 and second CP2, before committing a huge mistake forcing him to make a 15 km detour.
The result: Fifteen minutes lost on arrival! There were suspension problems for Jakub Przygonski (Orlen Team KTM 690), unable to take advantage in the second part of the stage on the lake Iriki. Worse was to come: Bruno Da Costa saw his Yamaha go up in smoke after thirty kilometers following an impressive fall. A huge disappointment for the Frenchman.
2010/10/18 | 22:00 CET | EDITOR: MR/HS/NPO