|OiLibya Tunisia: X-raid´s Novitskiy won the fight with Schlesser´s Buggy.|
In 2009, in the stage leading to Nafta, the Russian Leonid Novistkiy and his co-pilot were victims of an accident. Two years later, the rally Tsar took his revenge on the lot. It's as the winner that he was hoisted for the first time on the top step of the Oilibya Rally of Tunisia 2011’ podium after a very intense week.
An almost perfect ten for the driver From Moscow, which progress in the space of a few months, has been totally amazing behind the wheel of his official X-raid BMW X3 with the incredible talent of his co pilot the German Andy Schulz. Novitskiy has managed to keep the lead in front of the famous Jean -Louis Schlesser and Konstantin Zhiltsov (Buggy Schlesser) and finally put his name in the history book of this event that he so enjoys.
Winner of the last day's (Friday) stage, Nani Roma and Michel Perin (BMW X3CC) complete a final podium, really worthy of the second round of the FIA World Cup for Cross Country Rallies.
Just as regular as the leaders, but perhaps lacking some experience in Africa: Czechs Miroslav Zapletal and Tomas Ourednicek (BMW X3) allow the Bavarian car maker to place three of its X3 in the top 5. A quintet completed by Italian Robert Tonetti and teammate Belgian Fabian Lurquin (Nissan Pathfinder) who found the right rhythm driving his new car.
And if the Russian Ilya Kuznetsov, and Roman Elagin (Toyota Land Cruiser 200) win in the T2 category reserved for production vehicles, the Portuguese Elisabete Jacinto (MAN TGS with the Belgian Charly Gotlib and his compatriot Maroc Cochinho) claimed their fourth win in as many outings since the Oilibya Rally of Tunisia 2010 and nobody seems be able to stop them.
Wildcat Trophy - Michel Visy hit the "Wildcat" mark
Seventh in the overall rankings, Michel Visy and Sébastien Delaunay (QT/Bowler Wildcat) also captured a victory in this first meeting of the Wildcat Trophy 2011. The pilot of the Cantal region in France beat his friends Gaëtan Ge and Annie Gavineau (No. 320), Christophe Guillot and Jean-Pierre Garcin and Eugene and Patrick Decré Antoniolli (No. 306).
What they said after the Rally
Leonid Novitsky (X-raid BMW X3CC): "I am very happy to finally celebrate a victory and, more importantly, here in Tunisia, a country dear to my heart and where I started in rallying.
I would also like to thank all of X-Raid Team for their excellent work. It was a great race and very competitive with Jean-Louis Schlesser. I also thank him for his sportsmanship. Everyone knows that he is not an easy opponent to beat."
Jean-Louis Schlesser (Buggy Schlesser): "Congratulations to Leonid. It was a perfect race and he is very intelligent, not hesitating to slow down when necessary. Within a few years he has grown tremendously and has become a serious contender for the first place.
This Oilibya Rally of Tunisia was a great one. Congratulations also to the organizers for having the guts to go forward and thus help our Tunisian friends, ( we owe them in this very important time in their history). Tunisia is a beautiful country where tourists are more than welcome. It is also one of the reasons we're here."
Nani Roma (X-raid BMW X3CC): "Even if I have the feeling that the end result could have been better, Michel and I have found the level that was ours before I left the team in 2010. Within a week we have completely found our bearings and that is the most important because of upcoming appointments."
Roberto Tonetti (Nissan Pathfinder): "Even if it took me two days of racing to feel quite comfortable driving this new car, I am very pleased with the experience I have acquired throughout the Oilibya Rally of Tunisia. The pace is not at all comparable with that of Bowler. So it's very encouraging for the future."
Michel Visy (Bowler/QT Wildcat): "I am very pleased with our result. We fully negotiated the most difficult step around Ksar Ghilane. Then we intelligently managed to maintain this result during the final stages. A 7th place overall with a victory at the Wildcat Trophy: I really could not ask for more."
Elisabete Jacinto (MAN TGS): "You know my love of Africa. It is obvious that I had a great time again on this Oilibya Rally of Tunisia. The course was really varied. My second victory here! My program for 2011 ? Like last year: the Oilibya Rally of Morocco ... and the Africa Eco Race. Many appointments where I will try to defend my title."
Ludovic Leloup (Toyota Land Cruiser): This was my 12th Rally of Tunisia, my 20th rally, this year it was smaller but I congratulate all the participants for coming and proving that Tunisia is safe. I would also like to thank our faithful sponsor SIKA, and congratulate the organisation for maintaining the rally. We had a difficult race, breaking the Turbo in leg 2, therefore missing the next race. We are now in the Open category but still very happy."
Salim Kamoun (MAN TGA): "Beautiful race, and happy that it took place following the events. I am the first Tunisian ever to participate in a major Rally raid driving a truck, if not the first African. I used to drive cars and the driving and view on these machines is fantastic, dunes are easier to cross as well. I take my hat off to Elisabeth (Jacinto) not only for her skills, but her marvellous personality."
Thierry Fraignaud (Mitsubishi Pajero): "The dunes have been difficult with us, we had a few mechanical problems the first few days then we settled into a comfortable rhythm. Our aim today is to finish, I’m sure we will end trying to follow Elisabet (Jacinto) as usual. The high points are: the atmosphere at the bivouac and the impeccable organisation."
2011/05/09 | 14:07 CET | ARTICLE: MR/SY/NPO