In the bikes Meoni continued his charge to win the special by an incredible 13'16 margin over 2nd fastest man over the special, Richard Sainct. The other potential challenger for the top spot, Cyril Despres finished 3rd at 13'30. Overall Richard...
In the bikes Meoni continued his charge to win the special by an incredible 13'16 margin over 2nd fastest man over the special, Richard Sainct. The other potential challenger for the top spot, Cyril Despres finished 3rd at 13'30.
Overall Richard Sainct increases his lead fractionally over Despres, while Meoni pulls back to just 16'44 from the lead. In the cars victory went to Vatanen ahead of Alphand (at 1'18) and De Villiers (at 8'22). Overall though Peterhansel preserves his comfortable lead over Masuoka (at 25'50) with Fontenay 3rd at 2h29'33.
In the trucks Kabirov won ahead of De Rooy Senior with Tchaguine 3rd at 7'15. Overall however Tchaguine still holds a comfortable need of 1h08'53 over De Azevedo with De Rooy Senior third at 2h26'50.
Fabrizio Meoni (Gauloises KTM) 1st in 4h57'18
"Today I rode as fast as I possibly could. That is the maximum of what I am capable of and I am happy with my result -- especially as only the first part of the stage was particularly adapted to my bike. Now I'm 16'44 behind Richard -- it is a lot and a little at the same time. When I was 40 minutes down he could take it easy. Now he has to pick up the pace and in doing so take some risks. The problem is that I can't ride like that everyday. Normally you ride like that for only one day on a rallye -- after that you stack the odds too high. Another problem is that today was the last long desert special on this rallye. Looking at what is to come, I can't see another stage where I can make the difference."
Richard Sainct (Gauloises KTM) 2nd at 13'16
"10 km from the refuelling CP2 I had a big fright. I had a problem with the fuel pipe to the rear left tank and had to stop for two or three minutes to fix it. Apart from that I had a good day. Sure Fabrizio pulled back on me, but I still have a margin and logically from now on the specials should be 'mono-friendly'. It is a long way though from being all over. When something like the fuel pipe problem happens to you, you realise that anything can happen."
Cyril Despres (Gauloises KTM) 3rd at 13'30
"Not a bad day. Starting so far ahead of Fabrizio and Richard meant that I could have lost a lot of time, but at CP2 Richard hadn't taken any time off me, while Fabrizio had only taken 2 minutes. After CP2 I kept a good rhythm to CP3 and then it was very fast over 120 km through a valley. My maximum speed was 172 kph, so I hate to think what Meoni was doing. Then at the end I got very low on fuel and had to start juggling fuel tanks. I finished with just 1.5 litres and probably lost two or three minutes. Overall the situation doesn't look too bad. Richard didn't take much off me while, even if Fabrizio has come back, he is still 6 minutes behind. Taking into account tomorrow's start order and the profile of the special I should be able to reverse the tendency and pull away from Meoni a little."
Jean Brucy (Gauloises KTM) 4th at 15'59
"Fabrizio caught me fairly quickly and I couldn't stay with him for long -- he was a man in a hurry today! After that everything went smoothly until about 20 km from the end when the piste disappeared momentarily. Fortunately I quickly pick up a track over to the left that took me to the finish."
Giovanni Sala (Gauloises KTM) 8th at 28'50
"I'm happy with my day. I opened the piste and Meoni only caught me 200 km from the end -- he was going very fast! Then just before the end I stopped to fix my trip and lost maybe a minute or so. Who knows, starting from 8th tomorrow I could win another special!"
Miran Stanovnik (KTM) 14th at 41'41
"Right at the end of the special my engine bash plate started to fall off and I had to stop for about 3 minutes to fix it. Apart from that no problem. Even though I started third today the navigation wasn't complicated. I caught Ullevalseter at about km 80 and we rode almost the whole of the rest of the special together. Overall I'm now 16th - those 2 hours of penalties have cost me dear!"
Eric Verhoef (KTM) 22nd at 1h10'31
"The beginning was nice and so was the end, but the middle was a little boring. I only remember the good bits so lets call it a nice day! The bike however has taken a lot of abuse on this rallye and you can't help getting paranoid. I keep imagining noises that aren't there. Because I am in the marathon class I didn't change my engine on the rest day and the closer I get to the finish the more nervous I am getting!"
Rene Metge (Gauloises Mercedes) 19th at 1h18'37
"An excellent day today, Elodie didn't make any navigation mistakes and the shocks we fitted on the rest day have made a huge improvement. Above all though I want to get Elodie to Sharm."
Jan De Rooy (Gauloises De Rooy) 2nd at 2'29
"I'm sad not to have my son here with me. Driving in the special was OK but leaving this morning and arriving here this evening are a little bit difficult. They are taking Gerdardus' truck to Alexandria this evening and then Gerardus will meet me in Sharm. As far as the race is concerned, barring disaster, I can't see the overall positions changing."