Fifth leg Abu Simbel - El Kharga
"The track of the big return": this is the leitmotif of the fifth leg of the Rallye des Pharaons 2003. The marvellous Abu Simbel - where yesterday evening a night show has been organized for the Rally caravan at the Ramses Temple -has been the turning point of this year's race. Today's leg was the longer one, 549 km, of which 420 km were of selective section, up to El Kharga.
This has been a very fast stage, a mere Grand Prix in the desert, where the power of twin-cylinder engines of KTMs has been favoured.
Choosing to start 13th, as per new regulation, Fabrizio Meoni has commanded the today's stage, even though he had some problems with his saddle.
Meoni has resolutely attacked his challengers overtaking five of them. At the finish line he scored the amazing time of 3.32.24 (more than 120 Km/h his average), preceding the Catalan Nani Roma of about 2 minutes.
Third place for Richard Sainct, the leader of the general classification. Fourth the South African Alfie Cox at 6'30", and fifth Cyril Despres, who left the second position in the general classification to Nani Roma
After the fifth stage, Richard Sainct is still the leader, while Meoni is now at the sixth place.
Among the cars, the Japanese Kenjiro Shinozuka has finished this very fast stage in 3.33.32, just a minute later than the first motorbike.
He left behind him his team companion , Yves Loubet, of 36 minutes, becoming the new leader in the general classification with 23' lead. This morning the transalpine had a problem with his Nissan Pickup for a little fire. Third place to Etienne Smulevici (Nissan Patrol GR), before Tony Carello and Edi Orioli.
Tomorrow another very long stage which will take the rally again to Baharija, a total of 558 km, 398 of which are of selective section.
<pre> CLASSIFICA PROVVISORIA MOTO 1. Fabrizio Meoni 3.32.24 2. Joan Roma 3.34.13 3. Richard Sainct 3.36.80 4. Alfie Cox 3.38.54 5. Cyril Desprs 3.41.38
CLASSIFICA PROVVISORIA AUTO 1. Shinozuka-Willis 3.33.32 2. Loubet-Dubois 4.08.32 3. Smulevici-Gambillon 4.20.19 4. Carello-Ferri 4.26.00 5. Orioli-Pelanconi 4.27.18