It’s the third day of the Silk Way Rally and the second special stage for the race caravan. Leaving lake Baikal and entering Buryatia, many drivers experienced trouble. Some even dropped out of the race.
In the bike class, Xavier de Soultrait, who had taken the third place yesterday, had to leave the rally because of a technical failure. First one down!
British racer Sam Sunderland (#6) won this stage, with 2 hours 20 minutes and 30 seconds, although he hadn’t exactly planned it. He'd hoped to start further back for tomorrow's long stage.
“It wasn’t really the goal to win today to be honest, so a little bit frustrating for the strategy. But on a day like today, where there is no refuel it is difficult to know where the other guys are. You just push and try and to manage your pace. The stage itself was really nice, a good variety. Obviously there’s been a lot of rain so the organisers did a good job in managing to run the stage and let the race go on,” said Sam Sunderland (GB/Red Bull KTM Factory).
In the cars, Yazeed Al-Rajhi (#200) started 3rd today and quickly gained advantage. He was leading for the first one third of the race when his engine failed resulting in him exiting the special stage soon after Way Point 2. His car took the assistance route to reach the bivouac. Dutch racer Eric van Loon experienced a transmission failure on his Toyota Hilux, but managed to make repairs and finish the stage.
On the other hand, Nasser Al-Attiyah (#201) appears to have left all his troubles behind. He is ahead once again and his leadership is starting to become more prominent in the general classification.
“Today’s stage was very complicated. A lot of stones and a lot of water. We spent a lot of time in the forest tracks. In spite of a puncture we did a good job. For my part I am satisfied. We are 14 minutes ahead overall and we should be able to control a little the buggies who are coming into terrain more suited to them,” said Nasser Al-Attiyah (Qat/Toyota Gazoo Racing Overdrive).
In the trucks, Anton Shibalov punctured a tyre and we know how hard it is to change a tire on a truck like this. Yes, KAMAZ crews usually do it in under 8 or 9 minutes, but every minute is valuable.
Meanwhile, MAZ crews led by Aleksei Vishnevsky and Aleksandr Vasilevsky lost time between way points 1 and 2. Still, Sergei Vyazovich once again posted the best results in the competition.
Now that the Russian special stages are behind us, Mongolia awaits. A true terra incognita for the Silk Way Rally caravan and there's some tricky navigation among the hills on the way.