|Rally Albania: 70 kms round on Wednesday with a lot of surprises again.|
On Wednesday the participants again started early in the day. The weather stayed very cold for this summertime but the rain didn´t come again, so the track was more dry and fast and less dangerous than expected. The competitors had to drive 110 kilometers liaison and 70 km in timed section, crossing the windy mountains near Voskopoja in a round course.
"We had a nice ride," reported the German KTM-rider Johannes Baumgärtel "very fast with a good navigation. Especially the landscape was impressive, it was an up and down all the time." Swiss Guilleaume Martens confirmed: "One of the best stages I have driven in European rallies. Sometimes as fast as on a raceway, lot of jumps, nice landscape."
The roadbook was correct, but even many leading competitors made a mistake in the navigation and lost many minutes, which changed the daily results completely - and this let us see many new names in the bikes top 10 and mixed results in the cars and quads.
In the cars, it was a bad day for the "Dast"-Jeep crew of the local Spartak Marku. As second in the overall ranking he broke his steering, finished the stage late what let him loose definetely his podium-position - to a unhappy seventh place. Sina / Wittberger (AL/AT) in their Toyota Land Cruiser won again a stage and finished in 01:52:15 hours. Overall they could again strenghen their lead with 11:04:24 hours.
Second of the day was a big surprise: The Austrian couple Rainhard and Pauline Friedl (Mitsubishi Pajero Evo) needed only 12:46 minutes more than the leader. This success made them going up in the overall ranking from fifth to second place. "We were totally surprised" said Rainhard Friedl. "We thought about a seventh place, got smoothly through the stage. Now we are second, wow!".
Third of the day was the Mitsubishi crew Misha / Mati (AL/AL) with 02:05:01 hours, followed by Dervishaj / Papuli (AL/AL) in their Toyota Land Cruiser (+13:32 mins).
Overall Shkreta / Feka (AL/AL, Toyota Land Cruiser) moved to third position with now 12:38:58 hours in front of Czech Josef Machacek (Hayabusa Buggy, +01:50:28) and Meqemeja / Kullolli (AL/AL) Toyota Land Cruiser (+02:51:15) behind Sina/Wittberger and Friedl/Friedl.
Good news: The only "ladies team" in the cars, Giulia Maroni and Catherine Lefebre from Italy, driving a likely and nearly serial Suzuki Samurai, are still in the race and finished stable every day. "We like the rally. If you go smooth and think before speeding, this rally is even easy to handle with a small Suzuki. The car is running well, so cross the fingers for the next days" Giulia reported after the stage.
Funny news: The "broken-every-day" Land Rover Discovery of the Polish couple Janaszkiewicz again broke - and again the 4x4. This time the Disco only had "front-wheel-drive"...
In the bikes, the daily result was dominated by new names...but in the overall rankings the former leaders still dominate the field. Christian Pastori from Italy (Beta) is first with 10:59:32 hours, followed by Giovanni Stigliano (Italy, Yamaha, +09:30), Andrea Cosentino (Italy, KTM, +9:59), Vasilis Boudros from Greece (Husaberg, +28:57) and Boris Vlha (Slovakia, Yamaha, +35:28).
In the quads, Zornica Todorova from Bulgaria (Yamaha) is the new leader - as the only women on quads. She reached the top-position with now 12:06:46 hours, only 1:30 minutes in front of Slovenian Edward Jerak (Arctic Cat, +01:30). Gerben Lieverdink from Holland (E-ATV) is third with 15:04:32 hours, 04:58:44 hours in front of Joze Zalar from Slovenia (Arctic Car) and 11:26:32 hours in front of Dutchman Raymond Koldewijn.
On Thursday, the rally had its second biggest stage about 400 kilometers overall and two timed sections. The stage brought back the participants from the cold and rainy Northeast to the sunny and hot city of Durres at the beach in Northwest Albania. Here on Friday will be the last stage, followed by the prize-giving.
2013/06/13 | 19:49 CET | ARTICLE: MR/HS