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Dakar Rally 2015: The real Odyssey before - or how to be at the Start in time. | 29.08.2014


Defender Challenge: Rd 5 of the series by Bowler takes place this weekend. | 29.08.2014


Rally dos Sertões: Honda HRC riders finished first part of the marathon stage. | 29.08.2014


Rally dos Sertões: Top 10 cars mixed after hardest stage - Spinelli still leader. | 28.08.2014


Rally dos Sertões PHOTOS: Impressions from the Marathonrally in Brazil (77). | 28.08.2014


Rally dos Sertões: Two X-Rally NWM Ford Ranger in good 2nd and 4th position. | 28.08.2014


Baja Poland: Poland to welcome 112 competitors in Baja Poland this weekend. | 28.08.2014













































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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












Rally dos Sertões RESULTS: Overall results CARS & TRUCKS SS05 on Thursday | 29.08.2014 03:33 |




Rally dos Sertões RESULTS: Overall results BIKES & QUADS SS05 on Thursday | 29.08.2014 03:24 |




Dakar Rally 2015: The real Odyssey before - or how to be at the Start in time. | 29.08.2014 02:40 |




Defender Challenge VIDEO: Impressions of the series by Bowler Rd 4 Wales | 29.08.2014 01:31 |




Defender Challenge: Rd 5 of the series by Bowler takes place this weekend. | 29.08.2014 01:27 |




Rally dos Sertões: Honda HRC riders finished first part of the marathon stage. | 29.08.2014 00:47 |




Rally dos Sertões VIDEO: Mitsubishi Petrobras Team crews SS04 Wednesday | 28.08.2014 17:10 |




Rally dos Sertões VIDEO: Official no comment rally video of SS04 Wednesday | 28.08.2014 17:08 |




Rally dos Sertões: Top 10 cars mixed after hardest stage - Spinelli still leader. | 28.08.2014 16:33 |




Rally dos Sertões PHOTOS: Impressions from the Marathonrally in Brazil (77). | 28.08.2014 04:57 |




Rally dos Sertões: Two X-Rally NWM Ford Ranger in good 2nd and 4th position. | 28.08.2014 04:48 |




Baja Poland: Poland to welcome 112 competitors in Baja Poland this weekend. | 28.08.2014 02:20 |




Rally dos Sertões RESULTS: Overall results CARS & TRUCKS SS04 Wednesday | 28.08.2014 01:56 |




Rally dos Sertões RESULTS: Overall results BIKES & QUADS SS04 Wednesday | 28.08.2014 00:44 |




Rally dos Sertões: KTM’s Marc Coma hangs on to overall lead in dos Sertoes. | 27.08.2014 23:48 |




Rally dos Sertões: Paulo Gonçalves clinches victory in SS04 - the longest stage. | 27.08.2014 23:32 |




Desafío Inca: German manufacturer battle - X-Raid Mini vs SAM Mercedes CC | 27.08.2014 19:26 |




Rally dos Sertões RESULTS: Overall results CARS & TRUCKS SS03 on Tuesday | 27.08.2014 18:33 |




Rally dos Sertões RESULTS: Overall results BIKES & QUADS SS03 on Tuesday | 27.08.2014 18:29 |




Rally dos Sertões VIDEO: Mitsubishi Petrobras Team crews SS03 on Tuesday | 27.08.2014 17:55 |




Rally dos Sertões: Both Ford Rangers reached top speeds above 175 km/h. | 27.08.2014 17:07 |




Rally dos Sertões VIDEO: Onboard with X-Rally Ford Ranger Baumgart / Cincea | 27.08.2014 16:35 |




Rally dos Sertões: Stagewin for Toyota´s Varela in S3 but Spinelli still leader. | 27.08.2014 16:19 |




Rally dos Sertões: Goncalves - "Hope to ride hard without making mistakes" | 27.08.2014 16:00 |




Rally dos Sertões: Marc Coma wins again in Bikes and remains the leadership. | 27.08.2014 15:35 |




Rally dos Sertões VIDEO: Mitsubishi Petrobras Team crews SS02 on Monday | 26.08.2014 19:14 |




Rally dos Sertões VIDEO: Official no comment rally video of SS02 on Monday | 26.08.2014 18:57 |




Baja Poland: X-raid with four Mini All4 Racing - chase for World Cup continues. | 26.08.2014 17:21 |




Baja Poland: Overdrive Racing with five Toyota Hilux and Nasser Al Attiyah. | 26.08.2014 16:45 |




Rally dos Sertões: Mitsubishi´s Spinelli / Haddad the new leader in the cars. | 26.08.2014 05:17 |




Rally dos Sertões: Gonçalves wins SS2 in Bikes but Coma still overall leader. | 26.08.2014 05:02 |




Rally dos Sertões PHOTOS: Nice impressions from the first days in Brazil (79) | 26.08.2014 04:53 |




Baja Poland VIDEO: Official trailer of the Baja Poland FIA CC World Cup 2014 | 26.08.2014 04:32 |




Donaldson CC: Test of character for the teams at South African Vryburg 450 | 26.08.2014 03:49 |




Rallyraid: Kamaz Master legend Ilgizar Mardeev tragically died in an accident. | 26.08.2014 03:09 |




Rally dos Sertões RESULTS: Overall results CARS & TRUCKS SS02 on Monday | 26.08.2014 02:30 |




Rally dos Sertões RESULTS: Overall results BIKES & QUADS SS02 on Monday | 26.08.2014 01:59 |




Rally dos Sertões VIDEO: Driving onboard with Overdrive Toyota Hilux of Verala | 26.08.2014 01:46 |




Rally dos Sertões: Honda´s Paulo Goncalves wins second stage in the bikes. | 26.08.2014 01:28 |




Rally dos Sertões VIDEO: Official no comment video of SS01 Sunday (crash) | 26.08.2014 00:56 |




















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