The start of today´s special stage Volgograd – Elista was delayed to 01.30 p.m. due to the strong rains that hit the region and made the first part of the timed section impossible to drive. Competitors drove down the asphalt up to km 212.87 to take the start of this third special shortened to 275 km.
In this part of the timed section, tracks were rare, and navigation is often practiced off-road. The track took competitors to sandy areas in the small dunes and the Scorpion Erg in the end of the steppe.
The finish was judged 100 km far from the bivouac of Elista, Capital of the Kalmoukie Republic.
Christian Lavieille and Pascale Laroque (Proto Dessoude) scored their second stage win of the Silk Way Rally 2012, 2 minutes and 36 seconds in front of Vasilyev (GForce) and takes the overall lead followed by Jerome Pelichet and Xavier Panseri (Toyota Overdrive and Boris Gadasin (GForce).
Outstanding revenge for the SMG crew composed by Benat Errandonea and Jean-Pierre Garcin. Yesterday they were blocked in the road and had to repair chasis and closed this new day with a third position in the standings.
The fourth place was taken by Khale and Schuenneman, satisfied about their performance with the new Sam-Mercedez in front of Szalay.
In trucks, the Kamaz crew Nikolaev/Savostin/Rybakob achieves its second stage victory in front of Loparis (MAN) and Mardeev (Kamaz).
Misfortune for Chabot and Pilot (SMG) who faced a mechanical problem and wait for their assistance, and for Alvarez/Graue that broke the direction shaft, while Toni Gardemeister hit the car and was evacuated towards Astrakan to have medical exams.
Lavieille (Proto Dessoude): “It was not easy to open the track today, there were not even the marks from the opening car due to the rain, but Pascale performed an outstanding job. We took out time at every change of direction to choose the right bearing and it paid off. A heavy rain was falling over the last 40 km and the road was as slippery as ice. At the finish line we were welcomed by locals who offered us hats and white scarves.”
Nikolaev (Kamaz): “We are used to train in all kinds of weather, so that helped us today. The stage was very interesting from the navigation point of view since we got to Kalmouk area.”
Vasilyev (GForce): “Beautiful stage, so sad it had to be shortened because we needed more kilometers to take time back. In the first race day I didn’t took a turn correctly and I left the track in a hole and ripped the right front tire.”