PHARAONS CROSS COUNTRY RALLY
FIFTH STAGE: BAHARIJA-SITRA
TRANSFER: Km 3,95
SPECIAL: Km 381,29
TRANSFER: Km 1,82
TOTAL: Km 387,05
The three assistance points of this nice stage, quite long and with committing passages mainly in the second part. The start is the same of stage 2, with its traces in many directions, be careful to follow the correct line.
Instead of the SS2 - where after 5 km we skirted the mountain at our right - this stage follows CAP 13 in order to ascend the mountain through a nice but not easy sand flow: the now famous "passport ascend".
After the descend on the other side of the mountain, we reach a nicely traced track which takes us to skirt around the Baharija oasis anticlockwise, from South. This start of the stage is featured by changing grounds, sand, stones, waves, flat, straight, winding...
Some stretches of track are less visible, but there are not real problems of navigation, the ideal trace is always quite deducible. At km 64.88 we cross the road Cairo -- Baharija where the CP1 is located, careful while crossing, in some hours of the day traffic might be well hectic !! After less than 5 km a basic change of direction; toward left for CAP about 280, in order to end the oasis round on its North side, the track is well visible, flowing, but there are quite some diversions, careful not to divert from the correct line.
At about km 112, the CP2 with an assistance point and bike refueling, crossing of the asphalt that takes to Siwa, from where we'll continue with average CAP West for very fast stretch, sometimes winding, sometime straight, over a well traced track, sometimes wavy, to drive on.
Around km 170, the track becomes smoother and faster, we must be very careful at some steps taken with speed at km 179.51 and then continue toward another cross with the Baharija -- Siwa road, where the CP3 is placed at km 181.89, assistance point and bike refueling.
Few km after CP3, dunes start, nonstop for over 80 km, which gradually will become higher, closer to each other and softer up to km 267.15 over a nice esplanade of solid sand surrounded by a crown of spectacular dunes.
In order to leave the CP4 toward the assistance point of km 325.59, still 30 km of dunes are waiting for us, first complex (similar to those just passed to get to CP4) then more linear, but not so easy! After the asphalt crossing, follow-up p with a CAP 23, dunes are more rounded and faster, they alternate to esplanades of solid sand with dark pebbles. At CP5, change of direction (CAP 345) in order to get toward the Sitra bivouac, the arrival is close to the Baharija -- Siwa road.
LOPEZ HAS FUN AND WIN
Francisco "Chaleco" Lopez is the winner among motorbikes of the Pharaons fifth stage. At Sitra's finishing post precede Luca Manca and Ivan Boano of seven minutes. Despres remains the Overall's leader with seven minutes on Manca and twenty-one on Ceci. Among the cars Pelichet/Decr0x00e9 win and Tonetti/Tonetti remain first in Overall.
SITRA -- A small green spot surrounded by the desert, with dunes as background: this is Sitra, site of the Pharaons fifth stage finish, a lake surrounded by greenery, born from a petrolific prospection, between Baharija and Siwa. A very funny fraction, drived very fast in some points, with lots of ground changeovers. Leaved fourteenth this morning, Francisco " Chaleco " Lopez has particularly enjoyed the stage, as he reachs all the pilots that started before him, all but the three outriders. Aprilia's chilean had fun above all on the most incoherents strectches, beginning with Ivan Boano a friendly fight on motocross heat style. It amazes , but not so much by now, his today's victory, saddling even seven minutes to the second classified, Luca Manca. The sardinian giant started thirth this morning and reached after nearly forty kilometres Jakub Przygonski and the outrider Cyril Despres. Arriving to the finishing post together the best time as so been of the italian, while Ivan Boano is thirth at only two seconds from Manca.
Fourth place for Przygonski who precede Rodriguez and Ceci, both arrived " on wake " to Lopez. Only on seventh position Cyril Despres, that opened the way for the all stage, except for the lasts kilometres where he left Przygonski sail. The french champion was angry with Manca, that stayed on his back for the all day, asserting jokingly : " I didn't though it should be possible, but I believe we have found the new Alfie Cox ", referring to the ex south african pilot that used to stay behind the others letting them navigate.
In the Overall league not so much changed, with Despres remaining in the lead with seven minutes on Manca and twenty-one on Ceci. Aprilia's pilot will have to watch his back from Przygonski, that follows him at only 52 seconds.
Big orientation school today among the cars : Roberto Tonetti, navigated by his son Nicola, perforated twice during the initial part of the round, the second time he destroyed a pneumatic banging into a " herbe a chameau " very hard bump. At the CP 3 on the asphalt he had to stop to replace the two wheels perforated before and at that moment he had 35 minutes of detach from Pelichet/Decre, loosing virtually the top of the Overall league. From that point he began to force, without following the tracks in front of him, but following with rigour the road-book. At the finish he arrived with a detach of only 9 minutes from Pelichet, catching 26 minutes up. The french, from his corner, remained shelved during the last part of the stage. Very good thirth place for the egyptian crew El shamy-Elhamawy, particularly aggressive today and encouraged by their local fans during the asphalt's crossings. Twins De Lorenzo's Isuzu concluded fourth in front of " Mido " Abouyoussef.
In the Overall Tonetti's are still first and their advantage went down of 25 points on Pelichet/Decre, while Michel Visy/Philippe Bourquin, sevenths today, are always thirth in Overall, starting to configure a podium monopolized from Wildcats.
Tomorrow the return journey toward El Cairo, with the sixth and penultimate stage Sitra-Baharija, 431 kilometre, all of special stage : the longest Pharaons 2009 Special Stage.