SECOND STAGE: BAHARIJA-DAKHLA
TRANSFER: Km 3,95
SPECIAL: Km 386,47
TRANSFER: Km 47,00
TOTAL: Km 409,82
A much varied leg in grounds and difficulties, long but averagely quite smooth, with some spectacular passages, with only one assistance point. Departure is at less than 4 km from the bivouac, on the road toward Farafra. The first stretch is over sand base, sometimes wavy, with traces in many directions. The average CAP takes us toward South over a very visible track, the ground is less and less sandy with surfacing stones up to reach around km 40 a plateau with mixed ground of stones and fesh-fesh, the track is winding, fun to drive for around 30 km. Some stony stretches from about km 85, with steps descending which demand for care; especially at km 100.37 and at 129.12. From about km 140 on, over the plateau, the track becomes much smoother, with few bumps, waves and some stretches of fesh-fesh. Around km 161 an outstanding descend starts, stony, well marked by cairns, which will take us to the CP1, then continues towards the assistance point and bike refueling at Bir Karaouine, CP2. Temptation to enjoy the landscape is strong, luckier are the Pharaons Classic and Raid participants who can stop and fill themselves with a marvellous sight. After CP2, we totally change grounds and referring points; at km 10 change of direction, we go for about CAP 160 which will take us in total off-road over solid and fast sand esplanade. Around km 215 we start to climb over nice round dunes, some quite high (km 230.60, km 233.73, km 238.85), averagely all well linked.
After CP3 (km250.40) the smooth sand and well linked dunes continue with some stony interval, not so tricky. Around km 305 the sand ends and a small stones esplanade starts, then turns around a great massif (km 312.33), after which we find visible traces increasingly clear; they are the 2000 Dakkar -- Cairo traces that took the Tineida passage on the opposite way to ours. Continuing over the well visible track with a hard and rocky ground, with steps and waves, take double care !! as the end of the stage fatigue could take you. At km 377 the famous Tineida descend, the Egyptian "Pikes Peak", the second breathtaking descend of this stage, not less charming; once again, those who can stop to enjoy the sight will not regret. Around 10 km of winding track to reach the bottom of the valley and the end of the stage.
DESPRES TO THE RESCUE
Today, Cyril Despres, after yesterday when he loose more than fourteen minutes from Lopez, attacked his challenger after two hundred Kilometres, in a very speed track that advantaged his powerful engine motorbike. Lopez is in the Overall still leader with a minute and a half lead on Despres. Among the cars victory goes to Pelichet/Decr0x00e9, and the new leaders of the league are Roberto and Nicola Tonetti.
DAKHLA -- Lay up for the deep South for the second stop of Pharaons 2009. Left Baharija Oasis, the caravan had moved 400 Km toward South, until the beautiful Dakhla Oasis, a green spot sourrounded by falaises with shade of ochre. With its 433 Km had been the longer course of the rally, with a firts part guided and a second one really fast. Cyril Despres, after the mistakes of yesterday, hit the ground surpassing the pilots the were preceded him until he reachs pacesetter Lopez at the Km 280. In this speed route Despres asserted the major power of his KTM 690 compared to the chilean Aprilia 450, that had to tag along the french cutting the winning post with nearly one minute lead. Despres attained to recover almost thirteen minutes on Lopez, that remain leader of the Over all with 1'37'' of advantage on Despres, passed from the seventh to the second position. The french, when the stop was at the end, crumbled the Bib Mousse of the hind wheel and ended hardly the stop.
Thirth has been Luca Manca, that had to cover more than hundred Kilometres keeping the instrumentation of his KTM fixed because it was unscrew. Because his truck wasn't there, when he arrived at care point, Team Aprilia mechanics helped him. The strong pilot from Sardinia passed fourth in the Over All, detached of more than twelve minutes from Lopez.
Today's fourth place is for the polish Jakub Pryzgnsky, that preceded Alex Zanotti. Alex, from San Marino, passed third in the Over All, to twelve minutes from the team mate, be hot on the heels for Manca. Portoguese Helder Rodriguez and the other Aprilia from Paolo Ceci concluded behind Zanotti.
Tonetti father and son on the top
Among the cars the winner of yesterday, the Egyptian Omar Hani, had some troubles : he goes the wrong way immediately after the start, crossing a hill that he should surround and letting Jerome Pelichet surpass him. Attempting to retrieve broke in a hole the front suspension, loosing a lot of time.
All clear for Jerome Pelichet and Eugene Decr0x00e9 (QT Wildcat) that won the stop in front of the brand mate Roberto and Nicola Tonetti. Team Prorace italian crew passed on the top of the Over all with almost three minutes on the French/Swiss. Michel Visy/Philippe Bourquin completed the today's hat trick of the safe english cars, even with a detach from Pelichet of nearly a half an hour.
Are anyway on the thirth position also in the general score. Fourth place for the strong egyptian Abdelhamid Abouyoussef, fifths in the over all preceded by the Saudi Al Muhna/Alsanad, today on the fifth place. Good stop also for Aldo and Dario De Lorenzo, today on the seventh place.
Tomorrow lay up for the North for the thirth stop, the Dakhla-Abu-Mingar, 356 Kilometres.