Pharaons Rally Baharia - El Dakhla summary


1-9 october 2006


TRANSFER: Km 34,75
TOTAL: Km 472,75


The second stage will go directly to El Dakla from Baharija across one of the most famous and known desert in the world : the White Desert of Farafra. The Start is near the first stage finish and in the first km of the day, the track goes around the oasis of Baharija in direction W/S-W. At km 23,80 we overpass some little sand barcans that go through on a very fast sandy track that is connects in the back with a big oued that follows on the south the falaise of the oasis.

Little by little, accross a little canyon covered by sand, we are on the high plateau of fossil limestone where we drive on a large track, very much used, fast and visible. There are also a lot of waves and stones on the track that make the drive very technical and compelling. The CP1 (km 90,25) is on this track that goes through the southern limits of the little dune Ghard El Nusf which is the end of the fast part. We are now in a stones' labyrinth with a very hard and bumpy ground that for 20 km descends gradually to the northern layers of the wonderful white desert of Farafra. The landscape changes totally: loosed tracks between white big stones immersed on roundish sand tongues, little white mushrooms that compel to keep a very active and fast drive. The fesh-fesh takes over for some kilometers. After CP2 (km 193.11) there are about 3 km on the old asfalt road for Ain-Dalla then we go off-road in dunes and a sandy plateau very fluent that take us to a sand track very fast and easy to see in the little depression of El Bahar situated on the high plateau of El Quss Abu Said (km 180,28). After we return on the falaise and we continue on a very visible track that goes to the top of a wonderful sand descent from where we can admire the Farafra oasis. The track still continues under the big falaise. Pay attention at km 233,76 where there is a dangerous pass in descent. Then we pass many other tracks to cross over the road Bahariya-Farafra at km 247,50, assistance point and refueling bikes.

Always continuing on visibile/invisibile tracks, and newly in presence of white chalk formations, we continue among the big oasis in direction E. After some kilometers, around an area that will be the 3rd stage bivouac of Farafra (km 259,33), the CAP changes in direction of SE in the sand: the landscape changes a lot and the track is now faster and straight on big and roundish sand dunes for more than 60 Km. There will be also some little and isolated stepping over dunes. Little by little, we go (for more than 40 km) on a very fast and visibile track, in a black ground valley, coasted by series of dunes: it's the "black valley" that goes until a stone labyrinth: a sea of little stones immersed in the sand, with a background of monolites where we find a very well signalised track but with some difficults interpretations.

From km 425 begins a wonderful descent over sand tongues encircled by a canyon of white and wonderful falaises, too beautiful to be described in words. In the lower valley, around the km 430, the track runs still between sand and stones until the end of the stage, and arrives in an open space near a very well preserved Copt cemetery of Romans' time, so be careful! It is a must to respect the environment of our friendly hosts. A very short transfer goes from the little village of El-Qasr to El-Dakla with an incredible green landscape, very rich in fauna and very similar to what could have been an European space only some years ago.

El Dakhla, 4 october 2006 @ The desert in black and white.

Pursuing its road to the south, heading for the oasis of Dakhla, the Pharaons International Rally get to the crux. After the crossing of the black desert, this second stage, about almost 500 kilometres long, brought the competitors through the amazing landscape of the white desert, but also through several navigation difficulties. On two wheels, the Spaniard Marc Coma clinched victory and then took the head of the classification before his young team-mate Jordi Viladoms, whereas David Casteu, position 3rd today, managed a spectacular come back to the top of the ranking. The Frenchman is now occupying the 10th position. In the cars category, another Spaniard, Jose-Luis Monterde (BMW X5) won the stage in front of Yvan Muller (Proto Dessoude), while the Russian Shmakov (Buggy Zil), 3rd today, keeps the head of the category.

EL DAKHLA - Leaving Baharija at sunrise, Marc Coma (KTM), winner of the last Dakar, knew that he had the opportunity to get the head of the category this afternoon, at the end of this second stage in Dakhla. Starting right after his team-mate Viladoms, the tall Catalan, who clinched victory this year in the rally of Sardinia, Argentina and Marocco, just had to overtake his "water carrier" in order to take the head of the general classification. This time the logic has been respected. After 438 km of timed special, Coma came first after a perfect day for the complete team KTM directed from a master hand with Jordi Arcarons. But the stage was not so easy for Victor Rivera, 3rd position yesterday, who had to face severe technical problems with his Rieju 450, which suddenly stopped shortly before the CP 2 (km 193). A great occasion for Francisco Lopez to shorten the gap conceded the day before. But few kilometres away 'Chaleco' saw his rear wheel to play a trick on him. Arriving on the throttle at CP 3 (km 247), the Chilian took advantage of the bikers solidarity and the generosity of the mechanics from Graziani and De Gavardo, who fixed his wheel in a record time. Losing just over three minutes with this misadventure, Lopez ended up signing the first time of the 450cc category and the 7th position of the stage, just ahead of the surprising Sergio Calvi (KTM). Days are following each other, but fortunately are not similar for David Casteu (KTM). With the 19th position at start this morning, the Frenchman pushed it really strong to finish at the 3rd position of the stage and improving his ranking from 9 positions on the general classification. He is now occupying the 10th position, being ahead of the other KTM from De Gavardo, Ullevalseter and De Azevedo.

In the cars category, Jose-Luis Monterde (BMW X5) took advantage from his new transmission to arrive in Dakhla as leader. The Spaniard finished ahead of Yvan Muller (Proto Dessoude), still very impressive for his first participation in this discipline. This duel is also the one between a father and his son since the Belgium Jean-Marie Lurquin is co-piloting Monterde, whereas his son, Fabian, navigate for Yvan Muller for this rally. In 3rd position of the stage, the Russian Sergey Shmakov (Buggy Zil), winner of stage 1, keeps the head of the classification on the top of Muller and the two BMW X5 from Monterde and Nobre. In T2 category (production cars), Christian Lavieille (Nissan Pathfinder) get back to the leader position. After a first eventful day, the World Cup leader clocked the 6th time of the stage and erased his wrong start the day before, with an advance of more than 40 minutes on the other Nissan Pathfinder from Laurent Rosso.

-credit: jvd international

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About this article
Series Cross-Country Rally
Drivers Yvan Muller , Jean-Marie Lurquin , Jose Luis Monterde , Christian Lavieille , Marc Coma , Jordi Arcarons , David Casteu , Jordi Viladoms , Francisco Lopez