PHARAONS INTERNATIONAL CROSS COUNTRY RALLY
1-9 october 2006

STAGE N.7: BAHARIA - CAIRO
TRANSFER: Km 116,17
SPECIAL TEST: Km 208,45
TRANSFER: Km 61,70
TOTAL: Km 386,32

TODAY'S STAGE

Departure is at km 116,17 from the bivouac direction towards Cairo, near electric wires crossing the road. Since the very start the SS7 is very fast, running on a track that passes near a lonely acacia tree in the immense black hammada (on which the tracks rests). At km 40,98 you must keep the piquet on your right and take a detour that starts on the left side; the course now skirts some areas with very thin green grass with some much bigger plants at intervals. Before reaching CP1 the course runs along a fast sandy ouadi performing an amusing though compelling driving that is no less exciting than some stages of Italian rallies.

Once passed the Cairo road, the track becomes straight and fast with some drops that may be dangerous if taken at a too high speed. CP2 is the halfway to the end and the direction is now roughly E. The ground does not change much, but along the track there are some gigantic fossil tree trunks perfectly preserved of what was once a huge forest. At km 175,46 there is the last dune of the Pharaohs 2006, the track points directly to the Finish along a very fast ground.

Cairo, 9 october 2006
Coma and Shmakov, princes of Egypt

At the end of seven days of race, the Spaniard Marc Coma (KTM) in the bike race and the Russian Sergey Shmakov (Buggy Zil) on four wheels have crossed the finish line as great winners of the 9th Total Pharaons International Cross Country Rally on the podium installed on the beautiful plateau of Giza. Coma, winner of all the rallies in which he took part in 2006, is outlined as the main candidate for his own succession, in three months during the Dakar 2007. In the term of an ultimate stage with new developments, the Catalan outstrips the Norwegian Ullevalseter ( KTM) and the Brazilian De Azevedo ( KTM). On four wheels, already winner in South Africa, Sergey Shmakov, who finished ahead of the two BMW X5 from the Brazilian Nobre and the Spaniard Monterde, signing in the meantime his second victory in the world Cup championship. The Russian can already "unofficially" think at the world cup 2006, unless the FIA decide it differently with in few week.

CAIRO - In a great plume of smoke, Marc Coma stops his ride at the finish of this 8th and ultimate special of the Total Pharaons International Rally. The smile on his face, sparkling eyes of happiness, the Spanish rider radiates his satisfaction. Since last Dakar, he won all the events in which he participated in 2006. One exceptional season without fail, worthy of great champions and making of him the well-defined favourite in its own succession, next January, on the Dakar 2007. As by reflex, he throws a glance behind him. The horizon is quiet. Nobody follows. His first anxiety goes for his team member. Shortly before the refuelling station at CP2, the young Jordi Viladoms has destroyed the suspension of his KTM in a basin before to see his rear tire to tear itself up. Winner of the first stage and brilliant runner-up from his leader during the last six days, he lost everything with the finish line in sight. But that is the tough rule of the race and of the African rally above all.

Arrived right behind the Norwegian Pal Anders Ullevalseter (KTM), who is settling in extremis with a second spot, David Casteu (KTM) is also here to testify. David, to whom a place on the podium here would have been sufficient to braid already the world crown so desired, saw his illusions to fly away last Tuesday, from the first kilometres of this rally. It is nevertheless with the smile and giving evidence of his usual fair play that he stayed at the bottom of the podium to applaud Coma, Ullevalseter and De Azevedo ( KTM) opening the champagne. Conscious from his progress, even in the adversity, the French rider from Nice will have to be patient few more weeks and score three more points in Dubai in order to grab his world title largely deserved after an exemplary season. Hoisting his Honda 450 in front of the Sphinx, just behind the leaders, Francisco Lopez can, as for him, already taste the enjoyments of a first world title.

Indisputable revelation of this World Championship FIM 2006, the Chilean, answering to the nickname of 'Chaleco', as shown all his talent during its first steps on the African ground where he had come in any humility to collect a little of experience with the next participation to the Dakar as objective. Literarily flying over the category in Argentina, in Sardinia and in Morocco, the new perfect race realized here on the Egyptian soil far ahead of the KTM from Oscar Polli and the Yamaha of Mirko Miotto, propels him to the top of the discipline.

The top, that is also where Sergey Shmakov (Buggy Zil) is operating, here in the country of the Pharaons. Among the main players of the FIA World Cup 2006 and laureate two month ago in South Africa, the driver from Moscow did not have any choice than stepping on the podium in order to conquest the so desired world title. And this is with all his art that he managed it, arriving on the plateau of Giza as a winner for a double crown after a tough fight within the Egyptian desert against the two BMW X5 from the Spanish Monterde and the Brazilian Nobre. Winner of the 9th Total Pharaons International Rally, Sergey Shmakov will nevertheless still have to wait few weeks before to see his title officially ratified by the FIA.

Surprisingly, the Federation is now reconsidering the article, which mentions the requirement for any contender of the World Cup to participate in a minimum of four races on four different continents. No doubt and no hesitation for Christian Lavieille and Arnaud Debron (Nissan Pathfinder). Laureate in T2 category (production cars), the team from Team Dessoude Nissan France clinched attained the world title at the end of a very good rally, but not without any problems and . fears at the beginning. On the overall ranking, the French duo is ahead of the Mercedes ML from Jean- Pascal Besson and the other Nissan Pathfinder from Laurent Rosso. As for the trucks category, the final trophy goes to Giacomo Vismara (Iveco), who, in spite of some mechanical problems during the last stage, managed to reach the Egyptian capital city within the due-time.

-credit: jvd international