|Silk Way Rally: Firdaus Kabirov with Kamaz new leader in the Trucks Category.|
After losing 2:24 hours during yesterday's stage, Frenchman Stéphane Peterhansel set things straight today during the 2nd special and took his first stage win in the Silk Way Rally. In the general classification, the winner of the day was his teammate Krzysztof Holowczyc, who finished 2nd on the stage and took advantage of Russian Zheludov's mechanical problems to move to the top of the general classification.
In the truck category, the race was marked by the withdrawal of Russian Eduard Nikolaev, who fell prey to mechanical problems. This allowed his teammate and fellow Russian Firdaus Kabirov to take the lead of the general classification after winning today's stage.
How quickly things have changed for Stéphane Peterhansel and his Mini All4! After losing 2h 24' to the race leaders during the 1st stage due to diesel supply problems (which the X-Raid mechanics were unable to detect until very early this morning, leading to the crew clocking in late), the Frenchman was on fire today as he surged towards his first stage win in the Silk Way Rally.
As the 8th driver to tackle today's 484-kilometre timed section, "Peter" was forced to overtake all his rivals on the trail before he was able to "unleash" the full power of his car. This earned him the best time, 14'09" ahead of his teammate Krzysztof Holowczyc, who now has a margin of 2h 07'31" on him in the general classification.
The Pole took the lead in great part thanks to the problems suffered by yesterday's winner, Russian Alexander Zheludov (Nissan Frontier), who today lost over 50 minutes repairing his car on the trail and now lies 59'31" behind the BMW driver in the general classification.
The nice surprise of the day came from Christian Lavieille (Nissan Hardbody), who posted the 3rd best time of the day with his two-wheel drive buggy made by Dessoude, exactly 50 minutes behind the winner. The former multiple champion of the Bol d'Or now lies 53'23" behind Holowczyc in the general classification, where he stands 2nd, just ahead of Russian Alexander Mironenko and his BMW.
The stage was also marked by the bad luck of Russian Boris Gadasin (Proto G-Force), who lit the fireworks in the 2010 edition. He had no choice but to return to the bivouac by road due to technical issues.
Russian competitors have had their share of bad luck on their way to Volgograd. In the truck category, the day's special saw the withdrawal of GC leader Eduard Nikolaev, who was knocked out of the race by mechanical problems.
Nevertheless, "Kamaz is dead, long live Kamaz!". Fellow Russian Firdaus Kabirov is the new leader of the 3rd Silk Way Rally, a race he already won in its 1st edition. After winning the day's special stage at the end of an awesome struggle with Dutchman Hans Stacey (Iveco), who was desperately trying to claw back some time after yesterday's massive losses, the two-time Dakar champion now has a cushion of 35:10 minutes over his teammate Andrey Karginov and 43:25 mins over Czech Ales Loprais.
The third stage on Tuesday (July 12th) takes crews from Volgograd to Astrakhan. After a liaison section of 148km, the special runs for 432km and finished 10km from the bivouac. The first 240km run through the Russian steppes, where navigation will be tricky on the deceptive tracks. Sand dunes will also be on the agenda again.
2011/07/11 | 19:34 CET | ARTICLE: MR/SY/SZÈKELY-NAGY/ASO