THREE VICTORIES IN THREE LEGS FOR THE REPSOL RIDERS IN EGYPT
The victory was today for Carlo de Gavardo, with Jordi Viladoms third and Marc Coma fourth
Chilean rider Carlo de Gavardo, also representing the Repsol colours at the Pharaons Rally clinched the victory of the difficult and demanding stage raced today between El Dakhla and Farfara. The first to take the start this morning was Marc Coma, followed two minutes later by team mate Jordi Viladoms. Casteu and De Gavardo started behind Viladoms. Faced with a slow and complicated off-track ground Repsol KTM riders Coma and Viladoms who got together quickly, decided to set a safe pace and not putting themselves and the machines in a risk, a fact that was well used by Casteu and de Gavardo to catch the leading riders. The four of them rode together for the rest of the stage and only towards the end of the special, when the tracks became a bit faster, Coma increased the pace and managed to cross the finish line together with Viladoms with a certain advantage that allowed them to shorten the gap to De Gavardo and Casteu by a few seconds.
Today's stage, third: El Dakhla - Farafra. 400 Km.
The third stage of the Pharaons Rally started nearby El Dakhla, entering the first rounded dunes which were easily passed. Rapidly the initial tracks became a very slow off-track, on bumpy ground combined with sand and some dune passages until the CP2 at Km. 145,41. After arriving at CP3 (Km 218,54) the riders enjoyed a deserved but brief brake during the assistance and refuelling, located near the road to Abu Minqar. After CP3, the riders set off for CP4, located at Km. 254,58, having to cross more dunes and some canyons made of small eroded hills immersed in the sand.
After CP4 they way continued through an unchanged landscape, passing on a sandy hollow that took them gradually to a very bumpy track with some "fesh-fesh" hollows. Later the riders had to pass a short and fast section on the sand, a further bumpy road and a very fast track until CP5 -Km. 372,51- on a track made up of sandy dunes and some bumps. Finally the participants rode on a fast and sandy plateau until the finish of today's stage near the Farafra bivouac.
Marc Coma: "Today was a complicated stage, especially at the beginning. The first 150 km were a very hard route, a completely broken "off track" section. Jordi and I got together and set a rather calm pace, controlling the race because we are doing quite well so far. Then de Gavardo and Casteu caught us and we kept on riding in a group, setting a calm pace without taking too many risks. Let's hope that tomorrow things will continue working out as they've done so far; today we've completed another leg and everything's perfect."
Jordi Viladoms: "It was all off-track until the first refuelling and there were several dangerous areas, so we quickly noticed that we should better ride very carefully and that the other would probably catch us. We were so sure that we didn't even want to force the machines, because we knew that they would catch anyway. So we rode almost the whole stage together until Marc took over the lead towards the end and changed the pace, and I followed him. This allowed us to reach the end of the special with a little advantage to shorten the differences, but it wasn't enough to take the victory of the special."