PHARAONS INTERNATIONAL CROSS COUNTRY RALLY 1-9 october 2006 STAGE N.4: FARAFRA - BAHARIA SPECIAL TEST: Km 205,33 TRANSFER: Km 34,93 SPECIAL TEST: Km 169,35 TOTAL: Km 409,61 TODAY'S ...
PHARAONS INTERNATIONAL CROSS COUNTRY RALLY
1-9 october 2006
STAGE N.4: FARAFRA - BAHARIA
SPECIAL TEST: Km 205,33
TRANSFER: Km 34,93
SPECIAL TEST: Km 169,35
TOTAL: Km 409,61
Stage subdivided in two SS, the Start of the first SS is beside the Farafra bivouac. Until CP1/1 (km. 22,40) the way is sandy, fluid and absolutely off- road. After the CP1 the ground remains sandy for the first part, then it becomes bumpy when skirting from south the Farafra gardens. The CAP is SW until the crossing with the asphalt road that connects Farafra to El Dakhla (km 63,93) where is the assistance point. From here, the general CAP is now a full West on a traced but very bumpy ground that takes us around the great falaise of Farafra, first from the south and then maintaining it on the East, on our right hand.
Now the ground changes and at approximately Km 80 you enter into a tortuous ouadi with visible traces that gradually becomes a very well traced sandy track sometimes turning out very fast. The track further continues to round from West the falaise of Farafra and from km 150 it outskirts some longish dunes that make up the great Ouadi El Obeiyid. The track disappears from time to time on sandy plateaus to reappear soon afterwards. Near km 160 the ground becomes more sandy and beside some rare passages between dunes it remains fluid and fast. The landscape is very evocative: on the right we are now very close to the great falaise, on the left great chains of dunes and further away stand the white eroded formations, concealing the Hidden Valley in the famous great ouadi that during the Holocene era (when there was plenty of water)was an important area of human settlement.
At km 190,26 you drive a short way (about 6 km)on an old road going to Ain Dalla (be careful to the rough ground), until you reach the arrive of the first Selective Section of today. After the stop, on the asphalt, Assistance Point. A short transfer (a little more than 30km) in a first time along Ain Dalla asphalt and after on the road that links Farafra to Baharija towards North and you join another Assistance Point and motorbikes refuelling, near the start of the second Selective Section of the day. The ground and the landscape change in comparison with the SS4/1 and you drive through sandy extents with some very small palm-groves (km 20,10) and some ancient tamarisks that partially covered with sand form some dangerous "wooden hills". Be careful! From km 40 to km 80 the SS is traced on an old British track, very fast and fluid, becoming more tortuous as you drive on. You have here some parts HP and many bumps of the ground in a changing landscape. Near km 89 you climb to the Gebel Ghayada skirting it in direction North-West.
Continuing towards CP1/2 (km 157,89), the round turns flat and sandy, skirting reddish falaises joint together by white sand barcane. Once crossed the asphalt road to Bahariya you will drive the last kilometres on a track, crossed by many traces, that skirts the oasis gardens with tongues of sand contrasting with the darker ground. The arrival is at 1.200 meters from the bivouac that is the same of the Stage 1 and is located near the faleise of Bahariya near the new road Bahariya-Siwa.
Baharia, 6 october 2006
Coma controls, Shmakov counterattacks
Divided in two acts, the great scene of the day returning to Baharija did not change anything to the general classification of the 9th edition of the Pharaons International Rally. This stage of transition, divided into two distinctive specials, saw the triumph of Marc Coma (KTM) in bikes and of the Russian Shmakov (Buggy Zil) in cars. If the Spanish pilot is reinforcing his advance in the general standing, the leader of the FIA Cross-Country World Cup only won few seconds upon the Spaniard Monterde (BMW X5), still strongly attached to the head of the cars general ranking. But from tomorrow, the caravan is rushing forward to the oasis of Siwa for two stages, which are promising spectacular development.
BAHARIA - The one who starts behind finishes first. This adage has been perfectly respected in the bikes category during this fourth stage of the 9th Pharaons International Total Rally. Positioned second yesterday, it is David Casteu (KTM), who started the second timed special of the stage in the first position, after having overtaken Carlo De Gavardo (KTM) in the first one. Leaving its main opponents fighting together, Marc Coma (KTM), leader of the rally since the second stage, spent the complete day resting on one's laurels, while developing the team strategy with his faithful team- mate Jordi Viladoms. For the cumulated time of the two specials of the day, that is the Catalan, who realises the best operation in front of his colleague, accentuating his advantage in the general standing. Third of the cumulated stage ranking, David Casteu (KTM) is climbing slowly but surely toward the top positions, by obtaining the 6th position in the general classification, 37 minutes behind the Brazilian De Azevedo (5th). Quiet day also for the Chilean Francisco Lopez (Honda 450), who, despite of a first part made of extremely soft sand, managed to take benefit of a more technical second round to place his bike just behind the top pilots with their bigger engines. Tonight, for the first come-back to Baharija after for days of race, 'Chaleco' has a comfortable advance of 1h30 on Oscar Polli (KTM), his closest opponent in the 450cc category. Still in the same category, we have to mention that the French-Uruguayan Laurent Lazard (KTM), victim of carburetion problems in the second special of the stage, had to concede a lot of time and joined the bivouac late in the afternoon.
In cars, the competition is still raging for the head of the category. After having suffered the rule of the BMW from Jose Luis Monterde during the two previous days, Shmakov (Buggy Zil) took benefit of this stage to impose himself again. The fastest of the two timed specials, the Russian driver took finally two minutes back to the leader. But the Moscow-based pilot, now pointing at less than fifteen minutes from the Spanish leader and whose buggy's gear-box had to be changed overnight between Thursday and Friday, is determined to increase again his pace during the next two stages. To be also mentioned, the excellent 4th place of the Israelian Yeoshua Heymann Raz (Mitsubishi Pajero), just ahead of Prisca Taruffi (Nissan Navara), who recovered from her adventure from the previous day. Arrived in seventh position, Christian Lavieille and Arnaud Debron (Nissan Pathfinder) took the best of their car on the sandy track. In T2 category, dedicated to the production cars, the duo from the Team Dessoude Nissan France is "shoving" again ten good minutes to the Mercedes ML from Jean- Pascal Besson and get its ticket to the top 5 of the category. Still far ahead in the trucks category, Giacomo Vismara and his impressing Iveco imposed himself again in the middle of the cars race. Started in 5th position this morning, the 'giant' of the track signed today the 8th time of the scratch, corresponding to his position in the cumulated general classification.