|Silk Way Rally: Bad Luck at the end - Ales Loprais drops to final 4th Overall.|
It should have been a final decisive battle for the victory between Nikolaev and Loprais. In reality, everything is different: the muddy trap from Stage 5 brought unexpected losses...
Everything is reversed, both in car and truck categories. All attention in the trucks was paid to the rivarly of Loprais and Nikolaev. Loprais entered the stage first, being the stage winner from the previous day, and his time lag behind Nikolaev was 8m45s on 460 kilometers of the final special.
The situation seemed to be far from hopeless. However, one of the river crossings became a muddy trap, in which Ales' truck got stuck. The InstaForex Eurol Veka driver left nearly 100 minutes in it. The immediate help of Peter Versluis was not big enough and the crew had to get the truck out of the trap by itself.
The situation was even more of a bad luck when Nikolaev experienced engine problems and got stuck in the mud as well. Four of his team mates were pulling him from the trap. In the meantime, organizers showed all followers a different way to cross the river, leaving Ales Loprais on his own.
In the meantime, Ayrat Mardeev and Peter Versluis crossed the river in a different place and marched to the finish, securing the first and the second places, which they did not even hope in at the stage's beginning. Verluis finished third in the stage and second overall, securing the best career result in cross-country rallying.
It was Martin van den Brink with his Ginaf to finish second today, which took him to the TOP10 in the overall classification. Nikolaev finally got to the finish with an almost three-hour loss and dropped to sixth overall. Ilgizar Mardeev also dropped by two places.
When Ales got released from the trap, it was a matter of beating Nikolaev in the stage and possibly finishing not too late behind Shibalov who lost another 40 minutes but Loprais' misfortunate gave him good chances for the overall podium. He finally managed to retain it by only 5 minutes, leaving Ales Loprais fourth. At normal circumstances, Ales could have retained last year's victory but nothing is decided until a race is finally over...
The final results were posted already at Maykop and the stage to Gelendzhik was canceled. It was the shortest and the most modified Silk way Rally in the history. Only five stages run are nothing the organizers could be truly proud of for a rally that intends to be No. 2 of its kind in the world..
"Unfortunately we paid a bad due for starting first today. In the roadbook there was a river crossing and we ran it correctly. After all the rains, the riverbed was extremely muddy and we got stuck. At a similar place, Nikolaev got stuck as well but four of his Kamaz colleagues pulled his truck out." Ales Loprais told.
"Given his engine problems, we could have decided the race for ourselves today. Organizers directed all of our competitors to a safer place and left us there. We protested but were rejected. The jury's decision is strange in my opinion but that's all I can do against it. It was a great test for the Dakar but I am sorry we could not retain our victory from the last year," Ales Loprais said.
Overall results Silk Way Rally Trucks after Stage 05
01) Mardeev / Belyaev / Mirny (RUS) I Kamaz 4326-9 I 20:06:25
02) Verluis / Damen / Schurmans (NL) I MAN TGX 18.480 I + 0:30:28
03) ShŠibalov / Amatych / ShŠaysultanov (RUS) I Kamaz 4326-9 I + 0:57:18
04) Loprais / Bruynkens / Deenen (CZ) I MAN TGX 18.480 I + 1:03:09
05) Sotnikov / Yakovlev / Devyatkin (RUS) I Kamaz 4326 I + 2:05:58
06) Nikolaev / Savostin / Rybakov (RUS) I Kamaz 4326-9 I + 2:14:09
07) Rotsaert / Dendooven / Wybouw (B) I MAN TGA 18.480 I + 3:42:32
08) Mechtiev / Gorškov / Plotnikov (RUS) I MAN TGA 18.480 I + 3:50:59
09) Mardeev / Mizyukaev / Chisamiev (RUS) I Kamaz 4326 I + 4:14:16
10) Van Den Brink / Lagerway / Van Vliet (NL) I Ginaf X2222 SP I + 4:31:15
2012/07/18 | 17:27 CET | ARTICLE: MR/HS/VINTR