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Breslau Poland: Rally on standby by Military because of actual political situation. | 18.07.2014


Breslau Poland: The truck-legends are back - scrutineering - Ford Ranger. | 12.07.2014


Breslau Poland PHOTOS: First Impressions of the Scrutineering in Recz (60). | 12.07.2014


Africa Eco Race: End of preferential rates - review rally presentations Europe. | 04.07.2014


Dakar Rally 2015: Carlos Sousa switch from Great Wall to Mitsubishi Petrobras. | 04.07.2014


Hungarian Baja: 2014 is promising a big challenge for 11th edition in Hungary. | 03.07.2014


Dakar Rally 2015: Peugeot 2008 DKR - first test, new detailed technical data. | 03.07.2014













































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Pharaons Rally: Stage 04 - "No Metaphor - We were riding on a sea of sand".





By Robb Pritchard for marathonrally.com It's no metaphor, we really were riding on a sea of sand. Saeed Al Hameli pressed his nose up against the windscreen to get the best view and as we touch 120km/h the Dually's engine bogs a little, the horizon of a long pinkish outcrop fades from view and then it's just sand and sky... and when we gently bottom out in the small valley between the crests the small ripples shudder the truck just like it's a ship hitting a trough. Saeed is also a part-time fisherman and he says. "These are about 15 foot swells. If it was the sea it would be a bit rough!"

A few locals had followed the leading bikers to a 5 metre high drop-off and so marked a warning to the riders that something interesting was just beyond. We parked up watched the mid-field bikes slither through and then it was the famous blue buggy sliding to a momentary stop before Jean-Louis Schlesser eased it over and blasted off with a wide powerslide around the outside of one of the quads. A few more bikes trickled by before a deep rumble preceded Boris Gadasin appearing at the top and he launched off to hit the ground with a thump and splash of sand. Then it was Jun Mitsuhashi in his T2 Toyota and G-Force's Vladimir Vasiliev together and they wound away off through the small dunes side by side...

Back at camp many of the drivers didn't think that the stage was so hard. The circular 339km route looped out from the bivouac into the scorched wasteland across flowing dunes, up the back of a plateau and then straight off the end of it. "Sometimes I caught a glimpse when I could look away from the road," said stage-winner Jean-Louis Schlesser, "And the views were spectacular. Just a second here and there, or when we came to the edge of a ridge and you could see out to the horizon. I really enjoyed it. But the stage itself with such high speeds was a real challenge for the mechanics of the car... trying to keep the temperatures of the oil and water down while keeping flat out for such long stretches is a real challenge."

Second again was the perpetually happy and relaxed Jun Mitsuhashi in his large Toyota Land Cruiser. "It was fast!" he smiled. "All the time with just my right foot down... and today was good! I was expecting the two G-Force Protos to catch me really quickly, but actually they were a bit late! First it was Gadasin to go by but he went a little off the route and I took the straight way and got in front again and then Vasiliev caught up and we were all running together. Playing with the Protos was great. But then Gadasin got a puncture and the other one was a little off the middle line and flew off a dune, and I mean flew! But he broke the front of his car when he landed and from then on we just went to the finish. It was a very nice day!"

And what about G-Force. "Just some more bad luck like every day," Boris shrugged disconsolately as it wasn't just a puncture that slowed him down, today he really lost his cool... literally... as his cool-suit sprang a leak... and Freon gas is rather hard to find in the middle of the desert. But it was his car that was showing the effects of the day rather than him as it was listing sadly to the side. "There are lines of these small little dunes," he said. "They're only about 60cm high, but are really hard to see... and we hit one fast. It's like driving into a small wall at 150km/h and the impact broke a suspension strut..." And Vasiliev? Again Boris sighed. "He landed really hard and awkwardly on one wheel after a jump and broke the front suspension assembly. The right side today, yesterday it was the left!" And the truck? "Sergei (Kislev) and Alexi (Ivanov) were up all night fixing the hydraulic clutch and making new engine mounts, but at the moment they are still in the stage and we don't have contact with them..."

5th today and 4th overall is Vadym Nesterchuk in the Sixt Ukraine Mitsibishi, but it was far from easy. "We lost the power steering fluid so it was so hard to drive the car," he said. To keep going we had to improvise by filling the tank with engine oil instead... but it didn't last so long. But we made it, and now we are getting ready for tomorrow."

Coming home 3rd today was the cheerful and friendly Costel Casuneau, who I again found stretched out on his mattress in the shade. "Today was fast," he said, "And we spent a lot of time on the limiter at 160kp/h. But we almost crashed again... this time into Vasiliev because our Sentinel didn't work. We saw a couple of guys in racing suits sitting on top of a dune and so moved a little to the side just in case... and if we hadn't... well..." The Mitsibishi's mechanics were as relaxed as Costel and seemed to be sleeping under the car. "No," he smiled. "They are just checking the carbon-ceramic clutch for tomorrow. It's very sensitive and if you are rough with it, you can burn it out in a minute... but we'll take the dunes easily as at this stage in the race it's more important to finish."

Another team dreaming about finishing are the Egyptian Rahhala team. We waited a while at our vantage point in the dunes but they didn't appear. "The turbine for the engine air-cooling system failed," Tarek El Erian explained in the bivouac. "We tried to carry on a bit further, but no! It's a pity as we were going nice and steady, no one was overtaking us and the stage was actually quite easy, apart from the speed of it, so we are a little sad not to finish. But everything is fixed and we'll be at the start tomorrow!"

And quite a few had something to say about tomorrow's stage. I overheard people in the press centre calling it the Big One. At's 444km it's the longest, hardest and most specific of the event, full of intricate dunes with changing sands where experience will pay...

2011/10/06 | 17:38 CET | ARTICLE: MR/HS/PRITCHARD












Breslau Poland: Rally on standby by Military because of actual political situation. | 18.07.2014 09:56 |




Breslau Poland RESULTS: Daily results after SS01 Recz / Recz roundcourse | 13.07.2014 23:38 |




Breslau Poland: The truck-legends are back - scrutineering - Ford Ranger. | 12.07.2014 15:17 |




Breslau Poland PHOTOS: First Impressions of the Scrutineering in Recz (60). | 12.07.2014 14:29 |




Africa Eco Race: End of preferential rates - review rally presentations Europe. | 04.07.2014 15:44 |




Rally Raid VIDEO: Special tuned and loud Nissan Patrol RB25DET from Bulgaria | 04.07.2014 15:14 |




Red Bull Romaniacs: The most diversified Extreme Enduro track ever in 2014 | 04.07.2014 14:24 |




Dakar Rally 2015: Carlos Sousa switch from Great Wall to Mitsubishi Petrobras. | 04.07.2014 11:21 |




Baja Deutschland VIDEO: Summary of Dutch competitors in Germany in June | 04.07.2014 10:37 |




TORC 2014: Douglas continues to run up front - finishes Third in Round 7 | 04.07.2014 10:17 |




Hungarian Baja: 2014 is promising a big challenge for 11th edition in Hungary. | 03.07.2014 22:28 |




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Dakar Rally 2015 VIDEO: The all-new Peugeot 2008 DKR buggy - first preview | 03.07.2014 19:08 |




Dakar Rally 2015: Peugeot 2008 DKR - first test, new detailed technical data. | 03.07.2014 18:48 |




Donaldson CC: The African sands deliver their verdict in the Dakar Challenge | 03.07.2014 18:18 |




TORC 2014: Team Kleiman Off Road Racing - "Big House Brawl" Race Report | 03.07.2014 18:11 |




TORC 2014: Ross Hoek gets first PRO-4x4 Podium - third place in round 8 | 03.07.2014 17:55 |




Donaldson CC VIDEO: Impressions Toyota Team Kalahari Botswana Desert race | 03.07.2014 17:48 |




Donaldson CC: Rhide SA´s Brian Baragtwanath wins Quads Dakar Challenge | 03.07.2014 17:38 |




Donaldson CC: Bertholdt / Rousseau win free entry for the Dakar Rally 2015. | 03.07.2014 17:17 |




Donaldson CC: History repeats in Special Vehicles Class in Botswana rally | 03.07.2014 15:40 |




Donaldson CC: Taylor / Murphy win Toyota Botswana 1000 Dakar Challenge. | 03.07.2014 15:17 |




OiLibya Morocco: Organizer NPO unveils details of the 2014 stages in Morocco. | 27.06.2014 14:22 |




OiLibya Morocco VIDEO: Official trailer for the OiLibya Rally in Morocco 2014 | 27.06.2014 14:04 |




Dakar Challenge: Team Rhide SA ready for the Dakar Challenge in Botswana | 26.06.2014 18:52 |




FIA CC World Cup: UAE study points way to increasing safety to saving lives. | 26.06.2014 17:48 |




LOORR 2014: Solid weekend at Miller sport park in Utah for Casey Currie | 26.06.2014 17:02 |




Dakar Rally 2015: Japanese Hino truck already preparing for 2015 Dakar Rally | 26.06.2014 16:59 |




Dakar Rally 2015: X-raid strikes back - Dakar winner Roma extends contract. | 25.06.2014 17:33 |




ULTRA 4 Europe: Second day report ULTRA 4 race in Italy - by Robb Pritchard | 25.06.2014 14:43 |




AXCR Asia CC Rally: Outlander PHEV to tackle rally for second straight year. | 25.06.2014 14:14 |




AXCR Asia CC Rally VIDEO: Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV Hybrid in AXCR Rally | 25.06.2014 14:08 |




Donaldson CC: Desperate times for Special Vehicles in Botswana 1000 desert | 25.06.2014 13:53 |




TORC 2014: Flying Dutchman Mike Vanden Heuvel prepares for Crandon Brush | 25.06.2014 12:59 |




TORC 2014 VIDEO: Impressions from TORC Series by Amsoil round Bark River | 25.06.2014 12:57 |




TORC 2014: Dale Chestnut wins RD2 and leads TORC Classix Championship | 25.06.2014 12:46 |




TORC 2014: Steve Barlow and Adrian Cenni take PRO-class podiums in BR | 25.06.2014 12:45 |




Dakar Rally 2015: Former Winner Nasser al-Attiyah to switch to Toyota 2015. | 24.06.2014 17:54 |




LOORR 2014: Team Toyo’s Kyle LeDuc captures third successive sweep in Utah | 24.06.2014 17:15 |




Baja Rally: Mexican rally adds new Adventure Bike Expert class for 2014. | 24.06.2014 16:54 |




















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