LOPEZ AND SCHLESSER TAKE THE LEAD
Francisco "Chaleco" Lopez, like last year, wins the first stage of Pharaons Rally followed by Helder Rodrigues five minutes behind and the third place was for Alex Zanotti. In cars, Jean Louis Schlesser takes the lead while his main rival, Eric Vigouroux, finished 2h20 minutes later after an incident where he put the Trophy Truck was on its side. The car winner was followed by Maurizio Traglio and Japanese driver Jun Mitsuhashi takes the third place.
EL RAMMAK -- The Giza Pyramids have received the official start of the 13th edition of Pharaons Rally at 8 am this morning. A brand new stage of JVD's race that did not ended at the Oasis of Baharija, but in the dunes of El Rammak. The first to start this morning was Marc Coma (KTM -- Red Bull Menichetti), followed by his direct rival in the World Championship in open class, Polish rider Jacub Przygonski.
But none of the two obtained the best time of the 366 km of the special section. Like last year, Francisco Lopez (Aprilia Giofil) has started "full gas" and has quickly imposed his rhythm on the race. At the arrival of El Rammak, he signed the time of 3h18m32s, preceding Helder Rodrigues for five minutes.
The great day of Aprilia continues with the third place of Alex Zanotti, riding with the newest version "light" of the two cylinders Tuareg. Detached of 13 minutes from Lopez, San Marino's rider has preceded Jakub Przygonsky for one minute. The Polish rider arrived with Coma after joining the Spanish at the refuelling. Coma took the fifth place, right before Gerard Farres (Aprilia Giofil), and 16 minutes separates the Catalonian from "Chaleco".
The classification is completed by Team Orlen riders', Dabrowski and Czachor in 7th and 8th place, in front of the German Tim Trenker. The 10th place of the day is for Matteo Graziani in his return to "Africa" after two years of absence.
Argentinean Marcos Patronelli, winner of the last Dakar, dominated the quad race, preceding another talented rider from the Emirates, Alzaroune Atif Ahmad and Russian, Dmitri Pavlov.
The announced battle for cars between Jean Louis Schlesser and Eric Vigouroux only lasted until the second CP of the day. The Chevrolet Trophy Truck and the Schlesser Buggy overtook each other, but at km 150, the Trophy Truck took a dip too fast and put the car on its side. Vigouroux and co-driver Alex Winocq decided to put the car back on its wheels to continue, but they lost two hours to accomplish their goal.
The second place of the day was for Marizio Traglio and Fabian Lurquin, fifteen minutes from stage winner Jean Louis Schlesser. The third place is for the Japanese of Toyota Auto Body, Jun Mitsuhashi almost 23 minutes from the winner. First Bowler Wildcat was Roberto Tonetti, 4th in front of the fine Egyptian crew Omar Hani/Akram Al Sharif of Team Rahalla Racing. Jerome Pelichet and Eugenie Decre, last year winner, concluded in sixth position.
Francisco Lopez: It was a fast and beautiful stage. I profit that I started behind and I went full gas, always keeping things under control. The road book has many changes of direction. I started 37th and I got out the special stage 4th. I must say it was a wonderful way of starting.
Marc Coma: To start first in an off track stage is always hard. In this case, the rules have not helped me. I had a small problem with the trip, nothing bad, but Przygonski has joined me and we did together the second part of the stage. Lopez has rode very strongly, so from tomorrow we will see if I can take some time back.
Jean Louis Schlesser: It was a very beautiful stage. It has been a long time since I haven't been in Egypt and I like it. It was necessary to have eyes wide open and I decided not to force anything. Vigouroux joined me next to CP2, then I overtook him and he stood behind and suddenly we didn't see him anymore. The race has just begun and we have much km to go.
Marcos Patronelli: It was a very fast stage, I really liked it. For me it is the first time in Africa and the temperatures are very high. During the Dakar in Argentina we see different kinds of landscapes in 200 km, and here everything is flat, more sand, very hot and lots of navigation. This is much more fun.