Unseen in a rally-raid: duelling on seconds! For their penultimate stage, the contenders were racing the exact same route as yesterday hence taking every opportunity to attack. Attack was on the agenda in every category, particularly in cars...
Unseen in a rally-raid: duelling on seconds!
For their penultimate stage, the contenders were racing the exact same route as yesterday hence taking every opportunity to attack. Attack was on the agenda in every category, particularly in cars where this first Central Europe Rally turned into a race for every second between Carlos Sainz (VW) and Stephane Peterhansel (Mitsubishi).
In the bikes category, the leader in the general standings, David Casteu (KTM) preferred doing damage control against his only rival for the final victory, Chile's Francisco Lopez (KTM), now pushed back at 4'28 in the standings, and finally picked up the 5th place in this penultimate stage, excactly 4' from Cyril Despres (KTM). Indeed, the Frenchman took the opportunity of not starting first today to attack and take the 3rd position in the general standings back from Alain Duclos (KTM). Notable is also - again - the very good day of Slovak biker Jaroslav Katrinak (KTM) who really tried everything to win a stage on the day of his 34th birthday but who ended up 1'51 behind Despres.
No change in the quad race, the penultimate stage saw the victory of the leader in the general standings, France's Hubert Deltrieu (Polaris) ahead of his countryman and closest follower in the rankings Christophe Declerck (Yamaha), who has now been relegated 43'58 behind the leader in the standings.
But this penultimate stage was mainly marked by the awesome fight in the cars category between Stephane Peterhansel (Mitsubishi), leader in the general standings by 6" at the start this morning and Spain's Carlos Sainz (VW). Started first on a trail that corresponded rather well to the Touareg, "El Matador" attacked just like he did in his good old WRC days to win the stage, 40" ahead of the King of the Dakar, who was - this being said - bothered by his position on the track and the dust made by the competitors in front of him. By a way of consequence, after 9 hours and 40' of racing and less than 150 km from the finish, "Peter" has to give up - once again - his first position in the rally standings to Sainz, who only has the smallest lead of 18 seconds. A battle Blue against Red that is also raging for the 3rd position in the general standings as there are only 7" between German rallyman Dieter Depping (VW) ranking 3rd and French raider Luc Alphand (Mitsubishi)! Two battles for two driving styles that shall certainly leave the bivouac breathless tomorrow as well for the very last timed section...
Finally, in the trucks category, only bad karma could now deprive Hans Stacey (MAN) of the final victory. Indeed, the Dutchman - again - crushed anyone even trying to reach him during this penultimate stage and now enjoys a comfortable 31'41 lead in the overall standings on his compatriot Wulfert Van Ginkel (Ginaf) and an even more comfortable 49'23 lead on Czech driver Ales Loprais (Tatra).