Coma 2 – 2 Rodrigues
The 4th stage of Pharaons Rally should be called “Farafra´s Circuit.” The timed section, a 339 km was loop was mostly swallowed by all competitors in a very high temperature.
There were lots of events in today´s stage in bikes. First, Marc Coma, who was opening this morning, found his mates at CP1, Rodrigues and Viladoms. These two riders reached each other a few kilometers before, and then, the three continued the stage together. Even If the three arrived at the same time, it is Helder Rodrigues who signs the stage victory right in front of “Chaleco” López. The Chilean rider stopped 30 km before the end of the stage to help Jes Munk.
Jakub Przygonski run his race alone and finished third. The Polish keeps his fourth place in overall standings.
Jes Munk bit some sand after riding too fast, and couldn´t see a step up hidden under the sand. “It is constructive knowledge that I acquired there,” explains the Danish.
Beautiful competition among Italians Andea Manchini (Aprilia) and Luca Viglio (Honda), both fighting for the eighth position overall. Regarding Oscar Polli, after a day without mistakes, he finishes eleventh.
Two stage victories for Marc Coma, same for Helder Rodrigues: Spain 2 – 2 Portugal! Jun Mitsuhashi holds on!
While Jean Louis Schlesser continues his spectacle, Japanese driver Jun Mitsuhashi doesn´t let go. During this special considered as short, the Toyota VDJ 200 (T2) finishes 11´16” away from the winner. Both cars do not run in the same category, and Mitsuhashi´s team mate Alain Guehennec continues his great performance as co-driver. In this subject, the French gives the recipe for success: “This morning, while it was still cold, we inflated tires of the Toyota at 1.2 kilos. Then, Jun rolled at a good rhythm like the last three days and we never stopped. After the stage, we saw the Schlesser´s buggy that seemed to be lost, but it didn´t last long!” jokes Guehennec.
The third of the stage is Rumanian Costel Casuneanu on his Mitsubishi Pajero. Boris Gadasin (G-Force) signs the fourth best time followed by Vadym Nesterchuk (Mitsubishi) and Roberto Camporese (Nissan).
Tomorrow, competitors will face the fifth stage between Sahl Baraka and Tibniya, a 541 stage with 444 km of timed section.
Jordi Viladoms (Yamaha 450): “It was a nice stage, sandy, very fast and undulated. It was almost all off track, I would say there was 5% on tracks. Helder (Rodrigues) reached me at km 60, then we started the three of us (with Marc Coma and Helder Rodrigues) at CP1 and we rolled together until the finish line. It was another stage to test suspensions!”
Helder Rodrigues (Yamaha 450): “It was an easy stage, “very technical” (he jokes). It was a stage to go full gas, ups and downs in the sand; I reached Jordi (Viladoms) and then Marc (Coma). What it was fine is that sometimes I was able to open the track, which is a great exercise.”
Marc Coma (KTM): “It was a day without any complications; I was in front first, quiet, not at full speed because now it is time to manage the race until the end. It was a stage in what we call open spaces, completely empty, the real desert.”
Jes Munk (KTM): “I think there was a step up and I was too fast so I crush on it. I went too fast, I got to my limits and so, I fell. I guess this is my lack of experience and as I was feeling good, I pushed too far. I am ok, a little light headed but I will be ready for tomorrow.”
Francisco López (Aprilia): “It was a fast stage. I am glad yesterday the technical crew installed the same engine that last year so I was able to finish the stay comfortably. I picked up Jes Munk that was on the floor 30 km before the finish line. I check if he was fine and I put the bike back on the wheels and told him to wait for a few minutes to continue. He managed to finish!”
Oscar Polli (KTM): “Finally a good day! It was a nice stage and the only stage without problems for me. I rolled great today!”
Jean Louis Schlesser: “The biggest difficulty of the day was the first 90 km. We had the sun on our backs which erased totally the relief of the track, and we continued in a big sand sea among very nice landscapes that you can only register in your head. The stage was fast, but you must be careful because there were surprises too!”
Boris Gadasin (G Force Proto): “It was just like yesterday. I thought that if I run slowly it would have been better but today there were only 10 km of stony tracks, and… another puncture! After that I made a mistake, there was this hard step up of sand and I crushed 30 km before the finish line. Our main goal in this race is to understand what speed we should use in these conditions.”
Vladimir Vasiliev(G-Force Proto) : “I was too fast in a cut end dune and the fall was about 6 meters high and landed in the right front tire so suspension broke… “
Costel Casuneanu (Mitsubishi Pajero MPR13): “We didn´t take risks today. At a time I said to my co-driver that I was sorry that I went so slowly, but this is the first time I cross the dunes and I didn´t want to make mistakes. Let´s say this is a strategy to cross them… and I am quite happy I am third!”