|OiLibya Rally of Morocco: Stéphane Peterhansel and Cyril Despres leading.|
In the mountainous territory of the Ait Atta tribes, the fifth and penultimate stage of the OiLybia Rally of Morocco was consistent with everyone’s expectations. Technical, stony trails winding through the Anti-Atlas were a challenge for both man and machine.
The Comfortable leaders: Peterhansel/Cottret (BMW X3CC) gave way to their X-raid partners the Polish Kristof Holowczyc and the Belgian co pilot Fortin in Friday’s selective section, first stage victory for them.
Closely followed, in third position by Novitsky/Schulz. If Friday’s winner, who suffered an electrical problem at the beginning of the 5th stage, is to retain his first honorable mention, he will have to work hard, tomorrow at the desert GP, the final stage of the OiLybia Rally of Morocco.
Behind the BMW’s, the battle still rages. French Jerome Pélichet and Eugenie Decré (MD Buggy) with a 5 minute penalty for being pulled in Friday’s leg, and victim yesterday of problems with their GPS and a broken rim, are now only 2 minutes 36 seconds ahead of Patrick Sireyjol and François Beguin’s Bowler in the overall after reaching 6th in the selective section.
In the Trucks, Elisabete Jacinto, Charly Gotlib and Marco Cochinho (MAN) took their fourth consecutive stage win.
In the bikes, having absorbed the bulk of his delay due to a 30 minute penalty, during the second stage on Tuesday, Marc Coma (KTM 450), was hoping to add pressure on his team-mate Cyril Despres (KTM 450), in this fifth stage of the race).
"Impressive" was the word describing Cyril Despres Friday after wandering off into the desert for 15 minutes on Friday; he claimed his third stage victory in the OiLybia Rally of Morocco, ahead of Spaniard Jordi Viladoms (Yamaha 450 WRF No. 5) and Dutchman Frans Verhoeven (BMW G450RR Speedbrain), first in their respective stables.
No such luck for the Portuguese Gonçalves (BMW R450GG) amongst the leaders at CP1 he was halted by engine trouble 8 kilometers from the finish line and forced to wait for his teammate Pedro Bianchi Prata, who towed him back to Zagora, Goncalves conceded approximately an hour.
Worse still, the Frenchman Olivier Pain (Yamaha YZF 450), lost an hour and a half, believing his motorcycle had engine failure; it turned out his new reserve fuel tank had been installed without a hole! A spanner came in useful.
As for quads, Pascal Delesque (Polaris) can rejoice, with a six hour lead over his teammate Frédéric Alard (104 Honda), of the Nomad Racing Team, Le Havre is ready for his first victory ... on his first African rally.
2010/10/22 | 14:36 CET | EDITOR: MR/HS/NPO