It was a hard day for the local Mongolian hero Aorigele and his co-driver Qin Xu, winner of the first two stages. The Knight Super Player Club’s driver opened the track and was driving with a good pace when he had to slow down at km 35 in order to find a difficult way point.
“I am happy we didn’t expect to have such a decent result” said ZI Yungang – Shanxi Yunxiang SMG Buggy. “I like to drive in the desert. I was 15th on the road and by the end I passed the first car, so today we were good and worked well together”
“This stage was difficult we got lost after a few kilometres, we couldn’t find the check point so we kept looking, we stopped and tried to check with the map but we still couldn’t find it. Eventually we found it and I realised there were no cars in front of us so I was the first car to the end”, said Wei.
“Stage 3 was truly spectacular,” said De Villiers after completing the stage. “But an unfortunate problem with the GPS saw us lose quite a lot of time early on. Even so, we made most of that back during the day, and I’m confident that we’re still in a very strong position.”
As things stand after Stage 3, De Villiers/Von Zitzewitz are only 03:41 behind second-placed Wei Han (China), who proved himself by finishing third on this year’s Silkway Rally – one of the toughest events in the world.
A similar fate befell De Villiers’ teammates, Lucio Alvarez and Cacha Rodríguez (Argentina), in the second Toyota Gazoo Racing SA Hilux. The pair had an identical issue with their GPS, losing nearly 47 minutes before clawing back time through the rest of the stage. They posted the 16th-fastest time in the end, and are now in 6th position in the overall standings – 19:25 off the lead.
In the T1 group, #136 Meng Yan (Wuwujingang Nissan Patrol) didn’t pass unnoticed as she is the only woman in the race. Wuwu is 38 years old and a real passionate one. She’s been rallying for the last 4 years and took part in 6 big races in China, but this one is the biggest and the most prestigious “I have many victories in female rallies but my dream is to take part, one day, in the Dakar. Being here for the Dakar series China Rally is my first step to reach my dream” said Wuwu, 29th today.
The dunes and the terrain was a real challenge for the T2 vehicles that are mostly 2 tonnes including the extra roll bar and safety equipment. They don’t have the suspension of the prototypes it means freeing them is even harder. The fastest of the T2 group today was #202 Wuritunasheng – Jia Xiaowei with 4h40m15s, followed by #205 He Xudong-Ma Li and #209 Zhang Jianfeng-Wu Xiaoguang.
The Side by Side vehicles enjoyed a lot the first part of the route on the dunes of the Badan Jalan Desert where they could use all the potential of their vehicles. #313 Zhong Lei-Li Gang was the fastest driver of his class on a Polaris RZR1000, followed by #320 Zhang Qiang-Peng Yibo on a Yamaha YZF1000 and Li Dongsheng-Huo Mingxin (Polaris RXR000).
Superb day for #319 Su Baoheng – Tian Lei (Suzhou Buggy) who finished 11th overall, just behind the 2009 Dakar winner and set the fastest time in the open category (4h00m43s). Second of the Open was #303 Li Jinming – Jiyatu (xiongfeng Buggy). Third #135 Li
Jianguo – Li Jianbin (feiwo Fervor).