Just one step to the Pyramids
BAHARIYA – Fortunately Pharaons temperatures decreased a bit, so the rally's fourth stage, a loop starting and arriving in Bahariya Oasis, has been enjoyable for everybody apart from motorbike leader, Juan Carlos Salvatierra, who fell down by the end of special stage for having relaxed too much.
Bolivian seriously damaged his Speedbrain, loosing fork oil and radiator water. Fortunately, both Cardona and Sonik stopped to get water from their camel-back, so Salvatierra could finish the stage. Today 315 km stage winner has been Nicolas Cardona with an advantage of three minutes on Rafal Sonik's quad and of ten minutes on Salvatierra.
Salvatierra still maintains competition leadership , but his advantage has now reduced to 21 minutes. Stefano Chiussi is third overall, but the surprising Italian fell down and dislocated his shoulder. He only has a three minutes advantage on Sonik that tomorrow will have the concrete opportunity to grab the podium.
For what concerns cars, it's always interesting the fight between Nasser Al Attiyha who tries to attack and Yazeed Al Rajhi that does not seem to cede not even a millimeter. Even today Saudi pilot riding Toyota, was the fastest even if just for 44 seconds on Qatar driver. Moreover, he still also has in general ranking eight minutes advantage on Al Attiyah, a consistent advantage but not so strong to let him sleep soundly until Pyramids.
Third today Dutch Erik Van Loon, who's fighting for podium with Marek Dabrowski. Dutch regained nine minutes on Polish that has now an advantage of ten minutes. Problems again today for Russian Vladimir Vasilyev: World Cup leader got stuck in the sand. Then he had turbo problems and reached the finish line almost one hour after Al Rajhi.
Pharaons final act tomorrow will bring caravan to Giza Pyramids where 2014 winners will be crowned. There will be a special stage of 326 km before the final transfer in Egyptian capital.
Nasser Al Attiyah: “Stage was good, we did not made any navigation mistake but Yazeed today was faster, maybe because we had to open the track. Today stage was very beautiful again, with sand, stones and very fast parts. Tomorrow we'll have the last 300 km, everything can still happen and we'll make our best to get it.”
Yazeed al Rajhi: “I rode as fast as possible as I did not want to give Nasser the hope to reach me. If we do not make any mistake tomorrow, we'll have the opportunity of winning: if Nasser would reach us, it will be sufficient to control him.
Marek Dabrowski: “Today I've tried to do my best, but we collected a big delay from Van Loon . It seemed to be well done, but chronometer says the opposite.”
Van Loon: “I'm happy about today result, track was very fast with some slow stretches, beautiful landscapes and during the last 50 km. it seemed to be a WRC stage. It has been hard for the body with lots of jumps, we landed on the nose twice. It's the second competition with Mini and we still have to become totally confident with the car.”
Juan Carlos Salvatierra: “A very exciting stage really suffered in its final part. I was riding well but at km 240 I was too relaxed and I fell down. I was not going fast but bike is seriously damaged. Radiator was loosing water and I was seriously worried. I stopped every 20 km and Cardona and Sonik gave me water. Tomorrow I will not open the track, so I just have to control.”
Nicolas Cardona: “Today was a technical stage with some difficult series of dunes, with even some cut dunes, where I took some risks. Even navigation was not easy. I found Salvatierra in the last dunes and I stopped to give him water, then I had a relaxed riding, and opened the track in the final. Without first day penalty, it would have been an amusing competition.”
Rafael Eraso: “We are trying each day to safeguard bike and body even because I'm still recovering from Dakar hand injury. I was very tired at km 230 and I stopped to have an analgesic. After that I felt better and I could get my rhythm again. I hope not to have problems tomorrow and to get to Pyramids.”
Stefano Chiussi: “Ten km by the arrival, I lost concentration for a moment, I bumped a stone, and I fell down. I dislocated my shoulder but fortunately, Stefano Turchi stopped and helped me to relocate it again. I made the last kilometers suffering a terrible pain. I think that third place fight is now on Sonik favor, I have just three minutes of advantage on him, and tomorrow it will be almost a miracle for me to finish the competition.”