PHARAONS INTERNATIONAL CROSS COUNTRY RALLY
1-9 october 2006

STAGE N.6: SIWA - BAHARIA
TRANSFER: Km 4,72
SPECIAL TEST: Km 430,03
TOTAL: Km 434,75

Again, a lot of sand under your wheels. The Start is near the small village 4 km far from the Siwa bivouac, located directly on the first dunes, in HP. Be careful at km 8,14: make a slalom left/right to avoid a big hole. The sand near Siwa oasis is generally fluid, but there are parts where it becomes very soft and you find "cut" dunes (at km 7,5, at km 14,7, at km 16,05, and from km 30 on). During the first kilometres we have an overview of the lakes on the left, climbing over dunes and dunes and dunes. On the way, after km 100 we cut some very high dune chains, at about km 113 until we reach CP1 (km 131,76), always off road.

After the CP1 we join the fast track that must be now well traced by the competitors that yesterday run the SS, the ground is fairly bumpy, skirting the Siwa dunes from the South until Km 191,87, to end up again in off road in the insidious sand of Ghrud El Surah until CP2 at km 230,28, point of assistance and motorbike refuelling. We continue with off-road sandy passages, climbing over dunes for which we need special attention, until km 283,57. Then we enter a speedy and well traced track towards the East. At about km 300 we find more climbing over of dunes that require special attention, while from km 307 we find again visible traces: the ground is now absolutely compact, well traced and fairly fast, though we will find some very stony parts and some slopes (km 354,25, km 359,17 and km 388,29) and some passages through narrow ouadis. The final part is often on a stony ground and follows a track that sometimes disappears on monoliths on which traces are indeed little visible. The Finish (km 430,03) is on the falaise of Bahariya, near the descent of the asphalt road that take us directly to the bivouac.

Baharia, 8 october 2006
Coma and Shmakov on the royal lane

The sixth stage of the 9th Total Pharaons International Rally brought the group of competitors back to the direction of Cairo for the third and last stop in Baharija before the finish, this Monday in the Egyptian capital city. In bikes, it is as a leader that Marc Coma (KTM) closed this last but one stage, whereas in his trail, Carlo De Gavardo (KTM) was forced to withdraw after he fell down. The Chilean, third on the overall ranking this morning, has been evacuated by the medical staff with a broken left leg. In the cars division, the Brazilian Paulo Nobre clinched victory with his BMW X5, in front of the Buggy Zil from the Russian Shmakov, who is still comfortably leading the category.

BAHARIA - Some dunes to start with and then some technical tracks before to continue with navigation: the 6th stage of the Total Pharaons International Rally offered a very varying and exhausting track for its come back to Baharija. A timed special, which turned in a drama for Carlo De Gavardo (KTM). The Chilean rider, who was closed to jump on the third step of the podium on Monday in Cairo, fell down badly around the kilometre 320 of the stage. After having destroyed completely his bike, he has been evacuated toward the hospital of Cairo with a broken left leg. Riding again in a group at he head of the race, the leaders have spent the complete day watching each other. All benefit for Marc Coma (KTM), leader of the rally, who is clinching victory again, after having taken advantage of the excellent navigation of David Casteu. It is a good omen for the Catalan, who is hopping for a triumph in Cairo. Behind the winner of the last Dakar, the Norwegian Pal Anders Ullevalseter is realizing the good operation of the day. Second place for the 'Viking of the desert' today, who took advantage of the withdrawal of De Gavardo to raise himself up the provisory podium. Immobilized during about one hour next to his friend Carlo, Francisco Lopez (Honda 450) is logically conceding a lot of time in his 450cc category, on this stage, which saw the victory of Laurent Lazard (KTM 450). However, in the overall standing, the Chilean revelation 'Chaleco' is keeping a large advance and should celebrate his world title in his category.

A world title, something that Sergey Shmakov (Buggy Zil) is also waiting for, this Monday at the great Pyramids feet. Ideally, the Russian driver would like to double the success with a second victory in World Cup after the first one he easily obtained in South Africa. Leading the rally with 46 minutes of advance on his runner-up, the winner of the stage Paulo Nobre (BMW X5), Sergey Shmakov should logically enter Cairo as a winner. Unless the car race jury members impose him a penalty for the extra fuel he put in his tank at the assistance point at CP2. A forbidden action, but that only ended in a warning for another competitor in the same situation few days ago. What could have been just a small anecdote almost turned wrong at the assistance point. Very unsatisfied with his car, the Russian asked his mechanics to repair the front axle of the buggy, whereas some others were refuelling. The intervention of the stewards made the situation to flammable! Some fuel that had been sprayed on the welding spots started to ignite, starting a small fire quickly extinguished. Some worries today also and again for Jose Luis Monterde (BMW X5), who, after his gear-box and transmission problems of yesterday, had some troubles with the air-intake system shortly before CP2 and finished the stage with suspicious noises.

Third today, the Israeli Heyman Raz and Segal (Mitsubishi Pajero) do not stop to surprise, whereas Prisca Taruffi (Nissan Navara) is ranking 4th today. In the T2 category, the Mercedes ML from Jean-Pascal Besson is clocking the fastest time of this stage adrift of the Nissan Pathfinder from Laurent Rosso. Fourth of his category today, Christian Lavieille (Nissan Pathfinder) slowed down his pace on purpose, in order to settle his position of leader without taking any risk, and to make sure that he will cross the finish line successfully on the Gizeh plateau.

-credit: jvd international