|Rally Albania: Toughest stage of the Rally on Sunday Durres-Pogradec.|
On Sunday the "Rally Albania" saw its toughest stage under sunny and warm conditions from Durres in the Northwest to Pogradec in the Northeast, straight to the Pogradec lake near the border of Macedonia (FYROM).
The day started with a first liasion of 81 kilometers through the coastal region of Durres up into the mountains, where the first superspecial of the day (151 km) started. After a second liaison the participants had to manage a second stage of 43 km.
"It was really tough," reported the stage winner and overall leader in the cars, Renti Sina (Toyota Land Cruiser Proto). "In the mountains we had fast and stony tracks with a tricky navigation, crossing some small villages. Later the landscape went more off-road, with muddy and very stony trial parts."
He and navigator Dolly Wittberger from Austria managed the stage in 05:20:34 hours, which was 31:02 minutes faster then the day´s second Marku / Flamuri (Jeep Cherokee V6) from Albania and 47:57 in front of the Austrian couple Rainhard and Pauline Friedl in their Mitsubishi Pajero Evo.
"The day was nice but hard," Rainhard Friedl said after the stage. "In the faster parts we let the faster cars go because we don´t wanted to risk a damage or an accident."
He continued: "We are still driving with our first tires. Nearly all participants in front of us had to change one or more tires. Later in the off-road and trial passages we were able to win back some time - because this is what we especially like and for what our car is perfect for. We actually have a problem with the engine... the car only has power in the first three gears, so we can´t drive so fast, even if we want to."
Hayabusa-buggy single-seater driver Josef Machacek from the Czech Republic finished fourth in 06:35:46 hours, followed by the Albanian Toyota crew of Shkreta / Feka (07:00:37). For him the rally is more difficult - not only because of his low buggy, but also because he has to navigate alone.
Almir Dervishay (AL) rolled his Toyota Land Cruiser 25 km behind the start of the first SS. He and his navigator Mario Papuli were ok, the car only slightly damaged. "We hit a stone, rolled very slowly and landed on the wheels, luckily stopped by a tree," Papuli reported. "Later the Italian crew Stefani / Blangero stopped and they winched the Toyota back on track... Thanks for that!"
Again the Polish crew Janaszkiewicz / Janaszkiewicz got stuck with a broken differential - in rocky terrain. Other participants tried to help them but the car could not move a single meter - so they had to wait for a recovery truck.
"This is crazy," said Marek Janaszkiewicz. "We had the same problem on Saturday, repaired it with new parts and broke it again. Maybe something is wrong with this... We will see on Monday!"
In the overall car standings, Sina / Wittberger (AL/AT, Toyota Land Cruiser) are leading with 08:21:43 hours, which is 38:38 minutes in front of Marku / Flamuri (AL/AL, Jeep Cherokee) and 01:40:33 in front of Josef Machacek (CZ, Hayabusa Buggy). Shkreta / Feka (AL/AL, Toyota Land Cruiser) are fourth with 01:56:08 hours distance, the Italians Morra / Abbondi (Suzuki Samurai) fifth with 02:27:17 hours.
In the bikes, Yamaha-rider Giovanni Stigliano celebrated his first stage win in 04:57:56 hours, followed by Andrea Cosentino (Italy, KTM, +05:21),
Vasilis Boudros from Greece (Husaberg, +07:33), Ondrej Klymciw (CZ, Husaberg, +09:03) and Sjoerd Remmelink (NL, KTM, +10:49).
In the overall rankings Ondrej Klimciw is leading with 07:59:29 hours, which is 04:57 minutes faster than Christian Pastori from Italy (Beta) and 12:51 mins than Andrea Cosentino (I, KTM). The trio is followed by Sjoerd Remmelink (+16:49) and stage winner Giovanni Stigliano (+20:49).
Czech-German Yamaha rider Robert Visek reached the camp late - but walking on crutches. "Bad day," he said, "I was riding fast into a bend, put down my feet for balance and hit a stone with my knee. Actually nothing is broken, but it hurts, and we will see..."
In the quads, Martin Plechaty from the Czech Republic took the stage win with 05:29:59 hours and strengthened his overall lead with 08:29:41 hours. In the stage he was followed by Edward Jarek (SL, Arctic Cat, +04:03), Zornica Todorova from Bulgaria (Yamaha, +08:45), Dutchman Gerben Lieverdink (E-ATV, +01:15:45) and Joze Zalar (SL, Arctic Cat, +02:56:40). Overall Plechaty is first in front of Zornica Todorova (+14:11), Edward Jarek (+16:57), Gerben Lieverdink (+02:42:23) and Joze Zalar (+04:15:27).
On Monday the rally continued with a "softer" stage, designed as round course in the hills near Pogradec with only 52 km timed section on fast tracks.
2013/06/11 | 18:45 CET | ARTICLE: MR/HS