LOPEZ AND SCHLESSER TAKE THE LEAD
Today was the revenge of yesterday's misfortunes. Marc Come and Eric Vigouroux are the winners of the second stage in bikes and cars. Meanwhile, Francisco Lopez and Jean Louis Schlesser keep the overall lead. Marcos Patronelli stays on top of the quad classification.
BIR KARAWEIN --The 13th Pharaons Rally gets more exciting after the second stage. Today's selective section was much more technical and physically demanding, mostly because of the high temperatures while heading the bivouac of Bir Karawein, a small green area surrounded by sand dunes.
In bikes, Marc Coma was the rider who signed the best time. The Catalonian champion started fifth, a profitable position to take back places after yesterday's bad day. Around km 130, he joined Francisco Lopez and Helder Rodrigues before the refueling and from there also Jakub Pryzigonski joined the group that rode together for some kilometers until Marc Coma was detached on solo. The Catalonian signed a stage win right in front of Joan Barreda. The rally rookie carried out the most outstanding performance of the day. Coma is on top 7'15'' in front of Barreda, while the third place belongs to Przygonski. One minute behind is Francisco "Chaleco" Lopez, 8'45'' from Coma. The Chilean rider keeps the first position overall with an advantage of 6'48''.
Helder Rodrigues had to adjust his pace in the final part of the special and finishes 5th in front of Alex Zanotti and Jaceck Czachor. Behind the Polish, his team mate Marek Dabrowsky finished before Tim Trenker and Matteo Grazianni.
After the problems of the first stage, Eric Vigouroux started today in the 5th place aiming to give his best performance. He overtook the cars in front one after the other until he caught Schlesser. During this technical special: stony, undulated and under a very high temperature, the Trophy Truck signs a stage victory 6'56'' minutes in front of Jean Louis Schlesser.
On his side, Schlesser stays the solid leader in cars. The French driver profited of the beautiful scenery of the day even if he thought that the stage was particularly demanding physically as well as car. The Italian driver Maurizio Traglio and Fabian Lurquin had a puncture and the jack system did not work. The crew had to improvise a jack under the heat of the sun in the middle of the Egyptian dessert.
Jun Mitsuhashi with co-driver Alain Guehennes carried out a remarkable performance on their Nissan Pathfinder; they showed a right sport behavior by letting pass Eric Vigouroux when he approached to overtake them 40 km before the finish.
The best Egyptian team of the day was El Erian/Mohamed. The local crew completed today's stage in 4h50'22'', one hour behind Eric Vigouroux.
In Pharaons Classic, the winners of the first stage were Christian Belotti/Marco Gaggiani and the French crew of Patrick Feret/Patrice Pigny and Stephane Callens/Francois Callens. They all scored the same amount of point but the Italian takes the lead as it is the oldest car in the adventure.
Tomorrow, the rally caravan will head Abu Mingar, after two special stages.
Francisco "Chaleco" Lopez: "It was a hard stage. Lots of jumps, off track, it was perfect. I opened the road up to km 130 and then Marc (Coma) overtook me and kept opening the road. It was the perfect stage, the bike worked well and I had fun."
Marc Coma: "There was sand, stones, a bit of everything. It was a beautiful stage. I attacked from the beginning. The stage was not easy. Tomorrow I must open the road and... that is not advantageous."
Jakub Przygonski: "It was fast, lots of bumps, stony and jumps too. It was a physical stage. As it was dusty, it was hard to overtake other riders. At km 102 my road book broke down so I stopped to repair it and lost about 30 seconds."
Marcos Patronelli: "It was fun. It was a difficult stage. It reminded me of the stage "Antofagasta -- Iquique" of the Dakar. It was sandy, stony; lots of navigation and my road book didn't work so I had to role it myself. One of my tanks broke at km 170 so I had to cut the feeding to continue. Now the important thing is to be able to keep the pace."
Jean Louis Schlesser: "During the special, landscapes where magnificent. It was a section very hard to go through. Even Arnaud and I, we are tired."
Eric Vigouroux: "We started today like yesterday. From the 5th place where we have started, we reached Jean Louis at 1/3 of the special. We role together and then, in the last part, faster, we let them go to assure the victory that we dedicate to our technical crew that worked until 5 a.m to rebuild the front suspension."
Maurizio Traglio: "After the puncture at km 130, we stopped at the service to get a spare tire. Mitsuhashi profited to pass us at that moment."
Jun Mitsuhashi: I appreciated today's special, it wasn't easy at all, and over two or three portions there were lots of navigation. I listened to Alain because other competitors were going left while the right direction was right. He was right.