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Silk Way Rally: Ales Loprais wins Stage 7.

Stage 7 of Silk Way Rally did not take competitors to the heart of the karakoum desert, as eagerly expected. Ales Loprais finally made it for a stage victory and maintains th third place overall.
To the disappointment of all those who remained in the race, the organizing team decided to abandon the final two specials. It should have been the grand finale of a beatiful rally. Instead, the race took the way back to Turkmenbashi on a scenic and dusty route, with a 360-kilometre special stage.  

The Kamaz team held the first spot relatively safely in hands but decided to support the young Nikolaev on the third position. The team tactics was to the benefit of his and the young Russian pushed hard. At CP1 he was in the lead but until CP2 Ales Loprais slipped in front of him. Nikolaev squeezed the gap down to 25 seconds but that was it. Ales finally crowns his efforts. In the two stages before,a victory had been realistic but technical problems were against it. Gerard de Rooy stayed 10:40 minutes behind Ales but he indeed controlled his second place. Ales' task was nevertheless to attack as the gaps of Nikolave and Mardeev were tight.

It was not the hardest and the longest special of the rally, the stage victory is ranked high enough. If we do not cound the win in a short special at Central Europe Rally, It was Ales' second stage victory after the Kayes-Tambacounda stage at Dakar 2007. Even then it was an important step to the 3rd place overall.

"Today everyhing was fine and all worked well. I must give credit to my navigator, Jaro Miskolci, what a great job. Before the stage  we finally repaired the repeatedly broken fixing of the power steering, which had cost us an hour on the track. I must give many thanks to the boys from of Miroslav Zapletal for the help. Miroslav himself unfortunately cannot continue the race as he could definitely capitalize on the  development in the car category. All in all, it was a beautiful rally with great tracks of a high difficulty, like in Mauretania. And what a great competition we could meet here," Ales said.

He is not pleased with the fact the final stages in the Karakoum desert cannot be run. Te presidents of the three hosting countries are going to meet all competitors but for safety reasons they will make it back in Turkmenbashi. The rally could be made real thanks to their personal support.

"Too bad we can't keep racing. we finally got into a great pace and now we see we can better hold the pace against Gerard de Rooy and the Russians. the differences between us are closer not and that is a great encouragement. All team members made a good job getting the truck ready for the next stage," Ales concludes. The final stage includes only a 24-kilometre special not counted in the overall ranking. On the podium, after the whole rally, there will be representatives of three countries and three truckmakers.

2009/09/14 | 11:43 CET | Editor: MR/Jiri Vintr/Rita Konya

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