|Pharaons Rally: Dunes, sand - a happy Schlesser and problems for Vigouroux.|
An extenuating day for all competitors of the 13th edition of Pharaons Rally. Under a burning sun (32 degrees) and a ground that made competitors sweat that were trapped in the dunes. Wednesday´s stage was splitted in two stages, the first about 170 kms, the second about 302 kms. From Bir Karaween the participants had to cross cap south long dune- and sandfields and some stony cliffs until the camp Abu Mingar.
The day was the hardest for all crews until now, except for the French Jean Louis Schlesser and Arnaud Debron, who arrived to Abu Mingar with a big smile. The blue buggy-crew claimed that they didn´t see many cars climbing the dunes, a simple way to say that everything is all right for them.
"Happy people have nothing to say" said Schlesser. "Arnaud and I were all alone. I saw Vigouroux on the sand. I rolled anxiously during the whole special! On the second one, it wasn´t easy either, and the sun erased the relief of the track and the sand pits made us move worse than the camel herb. It was a hell!"
The day wasn´t the same for Eric Vigouroux and Alex Winocq. The Trophy Truck encountered several problems during the two stages. During the first special stage the two wheel drive was caught in the sand and lost one hour. Then, the second special was followed by a mechanical problem with the torque converter that didn´t allow the crew to succeed in their goals and obligated them to get to the bivouac at a reduced speed.
"Was not the best day for us" Vigouroux said. "First we stuck and then we had problems with the transmission. First we loose the fourth gear, then the third. After all we could make the stage only in second gear, but we get all CP´s and finished. It´s incredible, all the past rallies the car runs well, especially here we have the first bigger problems." But after all, the French crew climbed one place in the overall standings, take 9th position now.
Jerome Pelichet and Eugenie Decre have carried out a great performance today and finished the stage in the second place, an important reward after the mechanical problems of the two preceding stages. "It feels good to finish a special stage without problems" Pelichet told. "I am really enjoying it. We decided to keep a regular pace in order to avoid getting caught in the sand. We even saw Vigouroux and Traglio with their shovels!"
Sand was the preferred topic this afternoon in the bivouac. Also Maurizio Traglio and Fabian Lurquin were trapped with the sand up to the doors of their car. The story was the same for for Jun Mitsuhashi, and an unforgettable heat of the engine for the Tonetti´s crew. "We had the sand up to the car doors. We got caught in the sand four times! It was during the last time that we inflated tires to 700 gr. It was a day of craziness" the Italian said.
Tomorrow (Thursday) the race will go from Abu Mingar to Sitra, with a 412 km special section. The route will be very tricky and in some points dangerous. "We are a little afraid of this stage" told Egyptian Adham Mostafa, "the Dunes are high and the sand can be soft. It will be a great experience for all."
2010/10/06 | 19:29 CET | EDITOR: MR/HS