|OiLibya Tunisia: Leonid Novitskiy and Rodrigues in pole position after SS5.|
Back to Tozeur for the 5th and penultimate stage of the Oilibya Rally of Tunisia, the longest of the 2011 edition. In order: Mountain tracks, fast and rocky tracks in the plains, and then some sand dunes to finish at the gates of the small isolated town of Douz.
Without even waiting for the final explanation, Friday in the erg of Nafta, the leaders took the opportunity to roar ahead. In the weird and magical site of the movie "Star Wars", it will be Portugal's Helder Rodrigues (Yamaha 450) and the Russian Leonid Novitsky (BMW X3CC) who will start from pole positions for the Desert Grand Prix.
Cloistered in a silence filled with concern and respect for his friend Chaleco Lopes, who suffered a heavy fall yesterday, Helder Rodrigues (Yamaha) came out of his silence today. And in what way - by using all his experience.
The Portuguese who started ahead this morning "piloted" the perfect stage. Without looking back, he literally flew over the 300 kilometres of track, swallowing with equal efficiency, the variety on offer today.
With more than five minutes ahead at refuelling (at the half way mark) he made sure his advance over Pole Jakub Przygonski (KTM), would no longer be counted in seconds, but in minutes: eight-minutes to be almost precise.
Probably more than enough to enable Rodriguez on Yamaha to obtain his first victory in a final round of the FIM World Championship rallies. So it's for the last vacant place on the podium in the Oilibya Rally of Tunisia in Nafta, that Jacek Czachor (KTM 450) and Jordi Viladoms (Yamaha) will compete on Friday. A podium, however, already well established in the Open class where Dabrowski (KTM 690)) still leads ahead of the Turk Merkit (KTM) and Tunisia's Anis Nabli (KTM).
Enduro Cup: Thomas Bourgin on top of things
Reserved for 100% production motorcycles, the Enduro Cup should no escape from the Frenchman Thomas Bourgin (Husaberg). With more than three quarters of an hour ahead of Italy's Manuel Luchese (Husaberg) he again won the race today in Douz. He carefully avoided making any mistakes, while his opponents apparently met harder times in the longest stage of the rally.
Quads: Pascal Delesque is having fun
Like a metronome, the Russian Dmitry Pavlov (Honda) continues to combine speed and efficiency, Pascal Delesque (Honda), delayed by various problems since the start of the Oilibya Rally of Tunisia 2011, had very playful fight with the pilot from the east, for a first position. Unfortunately, the Frenchman forgot to focus on his navigation, missing two mandatory waypoints.
As for the Tunisian Karim Dilou (Yamaha), still weak, he nevertheless completed the special in "minor mode" together with the Italian Norberto Cangani (Polaris)
Cars: Russia´s Leonid Novitskiy has a solid lead
Inseparable from the start, five days in, Jean-Louis Schlesser (Buggy Schlesser) and Leonid Novitsky (BMW X3CC) knew that the return to the famous Chott El Jerrid would be decisive. The Russian driver left in 2nd position, just behind his Spanish teammate Nani Roma. By the time they were 50 kilometres from the finish line they had joined up. Roma then perfectly covered the rear of his leader!
Jean-Louis Schlesser (Buggy Schlesser) knew things were getting tricky, worse was to come: the car fell victim to an alternator failure, the six-time winner of the Oilibya Rally of Tunisia, conceded even more time to his main rival. Boris Garafulic (BMW X3CC) and Roberto Tonetti (Nissan Pathfinder), both are more and more comfortable with their new engines.
2011/05/05 | 22:58 CET | ARTICLE: MR/SY/NPO