|Rally Albania: Last big rallystage on Thursday again mixed the results.|
400 kilometers overall, two timed sections with nearly 150 kms and a big river-crossing in the beginning: The last big stage on thursday from Voskopoja back to Durres had its own stories and some interesting changes in the results. Especially in the bikes Christian Pastori from Italy (Beta) lost his overall lead, in the cars the Friedl-couple lost their podium-position with only 2:20 minutes overall.
The day started warm and sunny again, from the mountains in the Northeast of Albania the rally went back to Durres to the northwestern coast. The day began with a 90 km liasion - which was sadly the end of the rally for a Czech biker: He had an accident with a local bus and broke his leg.
"Damned," he reported, "in a curve the bus came from opposite, cutted the narrow road and I had no chance. Hopefully it was only my leg, the bike is ok. But this was not what I expected for the last big day."
Two kilometers after the start with a nice navigation through a big muddy field, the competitors had to cross a 400 meters wider riverbed with more or less deep and strong water. For many participants it was simply luck where to cross the river... some made it in one turn, others fell down and broke their engines, one biker lost his bike for nearly 1,5 hours in a really deep passage.
"For me it was simply misfortune" German Johannes Baumgärtel said. "I tried the wrong point, fell and my engine ingested water. I immediately stopped and later we decided, not to risk a fully damaged engine and retired. But it was a very nice rally, I´m not angry about this because I had a great week and this was definetely my fault."
Bad luck also for the Italian Christian Pastori: He lost many time by finding the right way through the water, lost his some-day-long overall lead to Andrea Cosentino (also Italy, 14:22:50 hours) and is now third with +23:44 minutes.
Luckiest riders of the day were Visilis Boudros from Greece and Guillaume Martens from Switzerland. Boudros won the stage and could reach the second overall (+17:37), Martens climbed the overall top 10 (8th, +02:06:20). Also Diederick Van Haselen (NL) and Mart Meeru (Estland) were now in the top 10. Fourth overall is Boris Vlha from Slovakia (+36:26) in front of Arthur Breukelaar from Holland (+01:30:06).
In the cars we saw a big fight for the podium places. Wednesday´s luckiest drivers, Rainhard and Pauline Friedl (Austria, Mitsubishi Pajero Evo) lost their overall second position again and went back to fourth with a gap of only 2:30 minutes.
Sina / Wittberger (AL/AT, Toyota Land Cruiser) could strenghten their lead again to 14:20:37 hours, followed by Shkreta / Feka (AL/AL, Toyota Land Cruiser, +02:04:39) and Czech Josef Machacek with his buggy (+02:17:14). Wednesday´s unlucky Jeep-crew Marku / Flamuri could catch back some time, but with a overall gap of 03:42:14 hours there is no chance for the podium anymore.
In the quads, Edward Jerak from Slovenia (Arctic Cat) again took the overall lead 6:19 minutes in front of yesterday´s leader Zornica Todorova from Bulgaria (Yamaha). Third is Dutchman Gerben Lieverdink (E-ATV) with a gap of 03:14:48 hours in front of Joze Zalar (Arctic Cat, +06:11:51) and Raymond Koldewijn from Holland (CanAm, +09:41:50).
Friday the rally will see its last stage, called "Epilogue". After a short liaison the competitors only have to drive 18 kilometers timed section... so no big thing to fight for many minutes but you never know...
2013/06/14 | 11:33 CET | ARTICLE: MR/HS