TRANSSYBERIA RALLY HEADS EAST TOWARDS MONGOLIA; USA'S MILLEN/GODBY UP TO 12TH OVERALL IN PORSCHE CAYENNE S TRANSSYBERIA AS STAGE FIVE IS COMPLETE ATLANTA - Americans Ryan Millen and Colin Godby, driving their Team USA Porsche Cayenne S ...
TRANSSYBERIA RALLY HEADS EAST TOWARDS MONGOLIA; USA'S MILLEN/GODBY UP TO 12TH OVERALL IN PORSCHE CAYENNE S TRANSSYBERIA AS STAGE FIVE IS COMPLETE
ATLANTA - Americans Ryan Millen and Colin Godby, driving their Team USA Porsche Cayenne S Transsyberia, shaved more than seven minutes off the leaders yesterday to move up to 12th overall as the 2008 TransSyberia Rally moves east towards Mongolia. Millen/Godby, who finished seventh on stage five, used strategy similar to Ryan's dad Rod; who won the rally last year - to gain an advantage over the field.
"Colin and I discussed it and decided that instead of taking our 12th starting position, we opted for a rear start, which we were allowed to do. Judging by the dust, it was the right move. I think we rolled off second to last and the track was pretty well burned-in by that time. Because of that, we were able to carry a massive amount of speed throughout the stage," said young Millen, who noted that his dad took a similar tact on a river-crossing stage last year to observe the others and find the best place to run without getting stuck in the water.
"There was a lot of waist-high grass, which wasn't there when they first laid out the rally a bunch of months back. Since it was going to be almost impossible to see, they gave us a bunch of waypoints. It didn't help the early starters because some of them got pretty lost."
"With all the dust, just about everybody was having overheating problems. So Colin and I decided that since our strategy is to conserve the car until we get to Mongolia, we ran fast, but we could have gone faster. We played it conservatively, engine-wise. And for a little insurance, we opened up all the windows and cranked up the heat. It must have helped because we were the only team that had no problem with engine temp," said Millen.
Team Portugal still leads the overall classification with Pedro Gameiro and his co-driver Pedro Fugueiredo (Porsche Cayenne S Transsyberia). Through a navigation mistake they lost over eleven minutes to Germany's Armin Schwarz' best time.
A disappointed Gameiro commented: "Today was just not our day. The stage ran badly for us. We didn't find the route and then got stuck. Lars Kern helped get us back on track, which was really fair of him. Tomorrow is a new stage. It can only get better." New in second are Said Al Hajri and Tim Trenker of Team Qatar. The first eight positions are occupied by Porsche teams.
Not all participants of this marathon rally, arguably the toughest for production-based off-road vehicles, were happy. As previously reported, Kees Nierop and Laurance Yap from Team Canada retired, as they had only sixth gear left. For Great Britain's Martin Rowe and Richard Tuthill, their rally ended after 29 kilometres into the fifth special stage. For a reason as yet to be explained their Cayenne S Transsyberia caught fire and was completely consumed. Both drivers were able to leave the car without haste and even managed to get their luggage out safely.
The sixth of a total of 14 legs leads from Omsk to the Siberian capital of Novosibirsk on 16th July and is 712 kilometres long. At 78 kilometres, the special stage is by now the longest of the entire rally. For the last time, participants will be accommodated in a hotel in Novosibirsk. Afterwards, tented camps will serve as accommodation. The Transsyberia Rally started on 11th July on Moscow's Red Square and finishes on 25th July in the Mongolian capital of Ulaanbaatar after a total of over 7,000 kilometres.