For the VRT G-Energy Team and the X-raid Team, the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge has been started with a great performance.
After the fourth place on the first stage in the desert, Vasilyev and his Russian co-driver Konstantin Zhiltsov took their MINI ALL4 Racing to the lead on the second stage and in the overall standings became a leader 44” seconds ahead of Polish Marek Dabrowski. The third place goes to Arabian pilot Yahya Alhelei, who finished the second stage 10 minutes behind the leader.
Vladimir Vasilyev: “Today the dunes were very dangerous, with a lot of dumpings therefore we should pass it very accurately. Tried to drive without mistakes. We managed to drive without any mistakes. We saw Nani having problems with health, and we passed also Eric Van Loon who was stopped on the track with some technical problems”.
Konstantin Zhiltsov: “At the beginning of the stage there were many slanting and curve dunes therefore we began a special stage accurately and carefully since knew that a place here are very peculiar. We drove in a good rhythm, accurately doing attention that here are the sharp dunes with dumpings. At the end, when we went on the saline soil, I looked in the road book, and we hit in a hummock, something began to wheeze in helmets, or maybe in brains…. Seriously, everything was really good. Especially, the car, we love it very much”.
Meanwhile, German pairing Stephan Schott/Andreas Schulz delivered in consistent style on both days by finishing 10th and sixth respectively and currently hold sixth position in the overall standings, Dutch pairing Eric van Loon/Wouter Rosegaar hold 20th position, Kazakh Aidyn Rakhimbayev and his Russian navigator Anton Nikolayev took their MINI ALL4 Racing to 31st and ninth positions respectively, in the first two stages of the event. “Vladimir delivered in great style and is the deserved leader,” said Team Manager Sven Quandt. “Nani unfortunately felt bad today, and consequently, it was an extremely tough day for him. But we hope that he will be able to really go for it again, in the final stages. And ‘Schotti’ once again demonstrates that Abu Dhabi suits him particularly well.”