THE CHANGE IS NOW!
The competitors left the bivouac at 8am for a 161 km liaison in order to reach the start of the stage. A first part of the day on tarmac before starting another day filled with sand but faster than yesterday. Only 55 vehicles started the stage at 11:30 am, unfortunately we lost many cars on the first day of which 2 of them burnt out and some try their best to fix it before stage 3.
For these 55 vehicles, they managed to see a variety of landscapes each one more spectacular than the previous during this 230,91 km stage. A day finishing at the « Door of hell » in Darwaza. Turkmenistan’s tourist and historical site, this is an old borehole that has collapsed over a pocket of gas and has been burning for over 40 years.
HUNT 1ST, NANI STILL LEADER
A stage that belongs to the youth since it is the Peugeot of Harry Hunt (GBR) and Wouter Rosegaar (NEL) that won today. In 2h36mn, it took 2mn39 less than the Mini of Nani Roma and Alex Haro (ESP) that he managed to pass after 100 km of race. The two crews then drove together to cross the finish line a few seconds apart. At 31years old, the British is doing well since the navigation was particularly difficult for his co-driver after losing their broken router … Then a problem of fuel pump came to add a difficulty to the duo very satisfied with the win of the day.
3rd, the Turkmen Mini Hoja Annamammedow finishes right in front of the Hummer of Miroslav Zapletal and Marek Sykora (CZE) who is about 17 minutes behind the winner of the day.
Big disappointment for Matthieu Serradori (FRA) and Fabian Lurquin (BEL), their MCM Buggy did not keep pace. While the winners of the Africa Eco Race were strong to pick up the leader, a break stopped them. It took them 1 hour to fix it under the sun with temperatures rising to more than 50 degrees … A big disappointment for the crew who claimed the podium, or even the victory as they are now out of the top 10.
The first truck is still Kamaz but this time it is the one of Airat Mardeev, Dmitrii Svitsunov and Ahkmet Galiautdinov (RUS) who takes 5th place.
At SSV, the Can-Am of Thierry Pitavy and Gilles Colombet is always the fastest.
Finally, the first T2 of the day is Toyota Yulia Migunova and Igor Petenko (RUS).
In the overall standings, Nani Roma keeps the lead 9mn24 ahead of Harry Hunt.
End of the day in song with a new concert and dance show organized for the caravan. A good beginning to celebrate this special evening dedicated to Jean-Louis Schlesser. As an emblematic organizer and legendary pilot, “JLS” celebrated its 70th anniversary, an opportunity to thank him just like the competitors did, proud to participate in this new adventure on his side.
Nani Roma (ESP – MINI) :
“The landscapes were different from yesterday and the track was very fast. We did the first 70 kilometers, but we thought that Hunt was going to catch up with us. At kilometer 130, we saw Harry behind, we let him pass. Then we grit our teeth to pick it up and not let go. But in the straight lines, it was impossible to pass them, they went very fast, but we are happy, the car is doing well.”
Harry Hunt (GBR – PEUGEOT) :
“It was Really good, I think we did well. We over took Nani at about 100km, so that was really good. Wouter did an amazing job of a difficult navigation. We are really happy with this first proper stage. We had a fuel pressure problem the whole way through the whole stage so a little bit of monitoring but it was ok. Once we caught Nani, I thought well, we’ll overtake him and just chill. But no, yeah, super good.”
Source: Rally-Raid Network