Silk Way Rally: Series stage 5 report

GAME OVER FOR DE VILLIERS Giniel De Villiers, struck by an unexpected ditch that sent his Race Touareg on its roof was forced to quit the Silk Way Rally while he was leading the overall standings and after having claimed three stage successes.

GAME OVER FOR DE VILLIERS

Giniel De Villiers, struck by an unexpected ditch that sent his Race Touareg on its roof was forced to quit the Silk Way Rally while he was leading the overall standings and after having claimed three stage successes. Carlos Sainz therefore re-conquered the race leadership and is more than ever in contention to retain his title. In the truck race, Vladimir Chagin powered to his second stage victory this year and moves closer to Firdaus Kabirov in the GC.

Rule number 1: keep your car on its four wheels. Giniel De Villiers is traditionnaly one of the safest drivers of off-road rallying. A steering wheel virtuoso, he's also known for his patience and consistency that helped him win the 2009 edition of the Dakar when some of his opponents including Sainz crashed out of the race. On the seven Dakar he competed in, the South African never quit and never commited crucial mistakes. But upsets happen and one can't remain focused all the time. Sadly te Villiers witnessed on the longest special of the rally in the Caspian desert on the way to Astrakhan. The overall leader at the start of the day had spent a difficult day looking for the good tracks on a day when navigation would be decisive. A bad and unexpected ditch at kilometer 324 would brutally stop his Silk Way Rally. His destroyed Race Touareg ended up on its roof and unhurt De Villiers and his co-driver Dirk Von Zitzewitz were taken to the Astrakhan bivouac by helicopter. Race over for the first of the four VW crews.

Carlos Sainz certainly didn't need such an accident to re-conquer the overall lead. At the two intermediate checkpoints, the Spaniard had an advantage of over 3' on De Villiers. Nasser Al Attiyah looked to be heading to his first stage success of the 2010 rally but the events to come would trouble his progression. After having stopped to make sure that De Villiers was alright, the three Volkswagens of Al Attiyah, Sainz and Miller carried on together. However, the driver from Qatar driving in front made a small navigation mistake that cost him precious time. He made it to the line with a 8'17 deficit on Sainz, fastest on the day. In the general classification, the gap grows between both rivals: now 13'15. Behind the now three Volkswagens, the fastest driver was to be Bogdan Vavrenuk. He reached the line some 1h22 after Sainz!

In the Kamaz clan the battle continued between Firdaus Kabirov and Vladimir Chagin, who took off with the mission to move back in top spot. His attacking strategy paid off^a at first. After overtaking Kabirov and Nikolaev, Chagin reached CP2 with an advantage of ten minutes. Almost enough to manage his goal after starting the day's race with a 12'45 deficit. But before making it to the Caspian Sea, Chagin too struggled with the navigation and his lead dropped down. He still reached the finish where he had gained 4'22'' on Kabirov. Good but not good enough, yet! On this 5th special and for the second time since the start in St Petersburg, Kamaz positioned four of their trucks in the leading four positions. Fifth spot was this time for Ales Loprais. The Czech Republic driver in his Tatra is over 1hour adrift in the GC.

-source: aso

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Series DAKAR