Five the number for De Villiers and Kabirov
Giniel De Villiers confirmed on the very demanding stage to Volgograd that he was back at his best. With a third stage success this year, the 2009 Dakar winner also becomes the first man to win five specials in the history of the Silk Way Rally. The South African also takes command of the overall standings with an advantage of 1'35. Five is also a number that perfectly suits Firdaus Kabirov. The Kamaz driver took off first and finished first with the best time. He increases his overall lead. Sportsmen often have several lives. Giniel De Villiers looks to once again in the skin of his favourite character: that of an unstoppable driver, sure of his technique and known for his consistency at the highest level. On the way to Volgograd, the man who spent a year in the shadow of his Volkswagen team mates, mainly due to surgery at the beginning of 2009 took command of the Silk Way Rally. Far from the man who seemed to be struggling on the last Dakar. Already a winner yesterday, De Villiers had the responsibility of opening the way on a stage where the competitors were to take on the first off-piste and dune portions. Behind Carlos Sainz was well decided to increase his leadership and did just that when he clocked the fastest time at CP1 (km 117).
However, after 230 kilometres, De Villiers' Race Touareg was the fastest. The South African wasn't only keeping good control of Sainz, he was positioning himself as a real menace with a 50" advantage over the Spaniard at CP2. And on the finish line, that lead was even bigger. Added to a third stage success on the Silk Way, "Gini" also claimed the overall leadership with a slim but enjoyable 1'35 lead over Sainz. The Spaniard however had a good reason for that slight setback, he indeed staled his car and was left stranded for over 2". Concerning third man, Nasser Al Attiyah, the day was rather frustrating after he too was forced to stop to repair a cooling pipe and then again for a puncture. The driver from Qatar lost over 6" on the day.
Behind the Volkswagen threesome De Villiers-Sainz-Al Attiyah, Mark Miller had no problem to conquer fourth spot overall. Surprising Boris Gadasin who had managed to trouble the perfect run of the race Touaregs, probably pushed slightly too hard. At km 37, his G Force Prototype went for a tumble. While both crew members were fine, the state of their vehicle forced them to quit the race. Gadasin's crash allowed Mathias Kahle to become the closest threat of the VW team. The German captured 5th spot, however 33' adrift and remains 1h23 behind De Villiers in the GC. His goal now will be to defend a precious position that Russians Alexander Mironenko and Ilya Kuznetsov would love to conquer.
In the truck race, the destiny of the title holder wasn't really troubled. Firdaus Kabirov claimed a second consecutive stage, taking his special record to 5 on two editions of the Silk Way Rally. With an advantage of 2'50 on young and promising Eduard Nikolaev today, the Kamaz driver keeps and even increases his overall lead. Kabirov leads the race with a 12'45 margin over his other team mate Vladimir Chagin. The boss of the class remains just as fast and consistent. So fast that behind the four Volkswagen Race Touaregs, the Russian is the fastest of the race, with for example a 13" lead on the buggy of Mathias Kahle. And that helps understand why it's so difficult to compete with the Kamaz army. Indeed Franz Echter in his MAN became the first rival of the Kamaz team in fourth spot overall but the German remains 43' adrift.