|Silk Way Rally: Ales Loprais opens the Silk Way Rally with 6th Place Overall.|
Stage 1 from Moscow to Lipetsk was marked by recent rains and even today the weather was not i favor of competitors, either. The route offered what one can expect in this area: muddy soil in the Russian suburban area, lots of wet grass and a slippery surface. In addition to that, there were many changes in direction, which finally stood against Ales Loprais.
After a small navigational mishap he drove 8 kilometers the wrong direction and had to return and catch up, which he eventually managed without problems, finishing 6th right behind the leading quintet of the domestic Kamaz trucks. The stage was won by the young Eduard Nikolaev ahead of his very experienced teammate Firdaus Kabirov. Nikolaev even clocked the second-fastest time of all competitors! Truly, partly also because of technical problems of the biggest favorite in the car category, Peterhansel.
"Today it was a muddy extreme, quite a slippery. Unfortunately we got struck with navigational troubles at the beginning, after that everything went fine. Kamaz boys seem to know it here well, everyone points on that and we are going to mind our own business. I believe our time will come later in more open areas," Ales summarized.
So, it was not really a walk in the park for the beginning. Troubles were hitting many favorites. Hans Stacey lost 50 minutes resolving the fire at the rear brake. Also Franz Echter finished quite late. A solid opening was scored by the Veka MAN driver Peter Versluis and also by Matthias Behringer on a production MAN truck. And he shall drive the current Echter's truck at Dakar 2012. Problems hit both Liaz trucks.
The crew of Bonver Dakar Team with Tomas Vratny was analyzing the terrain for the opening and without problems conducted its Tatra to the finish on the 21st. The driver definitely did not want to take many risks on a slippery surface and rather created a potential to grow faster in the coming stages.
The rally further continues on Monday with a long stage to Volgograd with a varied terrain and the first sands. No doubt a high pace will rule it again.
2011/07/11 | 15:44 CET | ARTICLE: MR/SY/LOPRAIS