Casteu in control while Peterhansel pulls away For the second stage in Romania, there were again plenty of changes both on the track as well as in the standings. Heavy rain soaked the route of the special all morning, turning the first loop...
Casteu in control while Peterhansel pulls away
For the second stage in Romania, there were again plenty of changes both on the track as well as in the standings. Heavy rain soaked the route of the special all morning, turning the first loop into a veritable hell-hole for the competitors and especially the trucks. As a result, the organisers were again forced to shorten the route for the second loop.
In these difficult conditions, caution was necessary, especially for the bikers, whose spirit was generally dampened by the withdrawal of Marc Coma the day before. Consequently, the leader of the general standings, David Casteu (KTM), preferred to secure his lead. This allowed former endurance rider Jaroslav Katrinak (KTM) to win both the day's special stages. The Slovakian thus clawed back 1'40" on the leader and climbed to 3rd place in the general standings, 2'32" behind the Frenchman (who was 3rd today), but 6" behind Chilean Francisco Lopez (KTM). The 2nd-placed rider in today's stage, Cyril Despres (KTM), continues to climb back up the standings and is now in 10th place, but still has 13'52" to make up on the leader. This third stage also and unfortunately saw David Fretigne withdraw for personal reasons.
In the quad category, one of the day's talking points was the 7th scratch time achieved by the Czech Josef Machacek (Yamaha) in the 2nd special. However, the main event of the day was the fight for the lead in the general standings, which came down to a matter of seconds. In the end, thanks to a superb second loop, Frenchman Hubert Deltrieu (Polaris) kept hold of the lead, 23'' in front of Romanian Razvan Irimescu (Polaris). Slovakia's Martin Antal (Polaris), 3rd in the general standings, already trails the front pair by 30 minutes!
As for the car race, the day was marked by the misfortune of Carlos Sainz (VW) in the first special. Due to breaking his gearbox control, the Spaniard lost more than eight minutes, whilst his stable-mate South African Giniel de Villiers claimed victory. In spit of the triumph by "Carlos El Matador" (the bullfighter) in the second loop, the major winner of this third stage was Stephane Peterhansel (Mitsubishi). As reliable and quick as ever, the former biker relied on his past experience as an endurance rider on this especially tricky terrain and comforted his lead at the top of the general standings, distancing Dieter Depping (VW) by 2'08". The German managed to prevent the three-diamond brand from scoring an impressive hat-trick, because Luc Alphand and Nani Roma now occupy 3rd and 4th position respectively. The only disappointment for the red Mitsubishi team was the withdrawal of the diesel Pajero driven by Masuoka, after the Japanese driver's French co-pilot Pascal Maimon had his ankle broken due to being accidentally hit by another vehicle in the special.
Lastly, in the truck category, only the 36-km long second loop was contested today. It was won by Ales Loprais (Tatra), 11" ahead of Hans Stacey (MAN). This wasn't enough to allow his rivals to dent the Dutchman's confidence or reduce his huge advantage in the general standings, where he now leads Wulfert Van Ginkel (GINAF) by 13'35" and German Franz Echter (MAN) by 14'52".