Rodrigues and Schlesser get their first stage win!
Yesterday night, at the briefing, Daniele Cotto insisted in that stage 2 was going to be harder than the first one. He was right, the selective section of 473 km over the 476 of the day were not tender to competitors.
In bikes, it was time to shine for Helder Rodrigues (Yamaha), who conquered the sand with elegance. The Portuguese rider earned a stage victory after leaving the start in the fourth position, 8 minutes behind Marc Coma. The Spaniard, fourth today, keeps his leadership in overall standings and keeps his advantage over Rodrigues, who takes now the second place. The gap is still small to allow any release to the leader. 1’23” seconds are not a lot after the second day when there are still four to go.
Jakub Przygonski (2nd of the stage), run with perfection maintaining his place in the podium these two days, but this might not be enough because Polish rider is 2 minutes and 57 seconds behind Coma. After a hard day (broken clutch), “Chaleco” López enjoyed his day during the stage, despite of the high temperatures. The Chilean rider started among the last bikes this morning and took over competitors until he finished fifth! The best Italian is Edouard Boulanger on Aprilia, who takes an honorable twelfth place and eleventh overall, after six years off of cross country rally racing.
Jean Louis Schlesser makes it double!
After signing the first stage victory, Schlesser takes the lead with his 2 wheel drive Buggy. During today´s special, the car creator/driver played with yesterday stage´s winner, the Russian Vladimir Vasiliev that got stuck in the dunes or had a transmission problem. It was a free way for “Schless” that takes over until the finish line until the victory.
Behind, problems were a common thing. Among the stories of the day, Zapletal´s Mitsubitshi inserted his car in the dunes and the BMW X3 Romanian drivers, Costel Casuneanu that was running high speed landed on it!
The Italian Pietro Cinotto didn’t have better luck in his Nissan Pathfinder prepared by Dessoude (T2) and rolled over some kilometers after CP1. More fear than damages for this crew!
By the end of the day, standings completely changed. Also, behind Schlesser there is Jun Mitsuhashi (third in 2010), 29’ 24” seconds from the leader. The Japanese drives a Toyota VDJ200 (T2) navigated by Alain Guehennec in the Team Auto Body. In spite of being trapped in the sand, Russian driver Boris Gadassin (G-Force), third of the stage, takes the same position in the overall standings after he stopped next to his unlucky compatriot, Vasiliev, and had a puncture. Another misfortune for Thierry Magnaldi today too. The French driver had a silent block and transmission problem that obligated him to take the tarmac to get back to the bivouac.
The Buggy SMG “Bio” of Bernard Touzery and Benoit Maurice makes its way and reach the top ten of overall standings today!
Bikes Helder Rodrigues (Yamaha 450), stage winner: “It was a very long stage with lots of sands and stones. I started fourth and little by little I got to the top to find myself in front of Jordi (Viladoms). I found a good rhythm and made the effort to keep it all stage long, it paid at the finish line! These two first stags were hard for the bike and riders, but I appreciate it and for the moment everything is ok.”
Jordi Viladoms (Yamaha 450), third: “I got up to Marc Coma, and then I crossed the dunes without problems, keeping a nice cadence. I found myself with Helder and each of us took his turn to try to win, but we finally crossed the finish line together. I am quite glad with the performance of the bike because after two days, it needs lots of mechanics.”
Marc Coma (KTM 450), fourth and race leader: “It was a typical day at Pharaons, for the stage length and for its difficulty. All elements of a big stage where there: off road, dunes and some rough roads. I opened the road and I saw Helder (Rodrigues) and Jordi (Viladoms) very fast. To run for 500 km in a timed section like this is an excellent training to learn how do doze effort and adopt a good race rhythm. After two days, we have to keep results steady, but the bike and the rider are so far, so good!”
Francisco Lopez: “I am glad I was able to restart this morning after the clutch problems yesterday. Even if I took a late start, it was fine and I felt well while ridding and I feel like I did well. It was a hard stage, but for me, a lot better than yesterday.”
Jean-Louis Schlesser (Buggy), stage winner and overall leader: “Once again the stage was magnificent and dunes were splendid. I had to show myself smart with Vasiliev that was opening the road but didn´t want to stay in front during the dunes. This was like playing the mouse and the cat. Finally, he stopped. We took the rhythm higher and took it all. By the end of the stage, it was very “shaky” and the last 90 were very hard.”
Jun Mitsuhashi (Toyota T2), second of the stage and overall: “This special has the “Dakar format”, long and hard. We were gifted in the dunes, which is not always simple with the Toyota because of the weight. But with the right air pressure in tires at CP1, we were able to avoid getting stuck… I was concentrated and I thought I didn´t make much mistakes. Navigation wise it was less complicated and as always, Alain (Guehennec) carried out a great job.”