Stéphane Peterhansel (Peugeot 3008DKR n°106) won the 9th stage of the Silk Way Rally, but the notable event of the day was his team mate and overall lead Sébastien Loeb’s accident at km 84. This evening in Hami it is Cyril Despres (Peugeot 3008 DKR n°100) who leads the rankings. In the trucks Airat Mardeev (Kamaz-Master n°300) was fastest on the day ahead of his team mate Sotnikov, who maintain the overall lead.
#Loeb caught out
#Sotnikov and the Kamaz connection
#Tomorrow: «The 492 chapels of Mogao»
Cars Loeb caught out
Starting first this morning, Sébastien Loeb and Daniel Elena (Peugeot 3008DKR Maxi n°104) were ‘opening’ at km 84 when they fell into a dried river bed, badly damaging the front of their car. Shaken but unhurt, they lost 2h30 strapping the front together before restarting. They got as far as km 161 before they were again forced to stop, this time to wait for their assistance truck, that had been held up in the first dunes. Whatever time they make it into the bivouac this evening it would seem that once again they have waved goodbye to a victory that looked like theirs for the taking. After having stopped with Loeb for around 7 minutes, but unable to offer much in the way of practical assistance, Stéphane Peterhansel and Jean-Paul Cottret (Peugeot 3008DKR n°106) carried on their way to take their 3rd stage win ahead of a trio of Chinese drivers, attacking hard on home ground. Second on the special, Lu Binglong (Baïcmotor n°130) finished just 20 seconds behind ‘Peter’, with the Geeley SMG buggies of Liu Kun (3rd) and Han Wei (4e) 2m03s and 2m52s respectively behind the winner. Fifth on the stage, 2m58s behind Peterhansel, Cyril Despres and David Castera (Peugeot 3008DKR n°100) are now the overall leaders, ahead of Han Wei at 44m12s and Bryce Menzies (Mini John Cooper Works n°105), who lost time today with punctures and navigation mistakes to slip to 3rd , at 52m23s.
Sotnikov and the ‘Kamaz connection’
In the truck class it looked like Eduard Nikolaev (Kamaz-Master n°307) was heading for his 2nd stage victory on the 2017 Silk Way Rally 2017. But the Kamaz driver, untouchable over the first three quarters of the special, ended up giving away over 9 minutes with a puncture, less than 100 kilometres from the finish. But in the heavyweight class one Kamaz can hide another… and it was his team mate Mardeev (Kamaz-Master n°300) who stepped up to win, just 36 seconds ahead of the overall leader, Dmitry Sotnikov and 5m09s ahead of Shibalov. At 9m25s behind his comrades, Nikolaev rounds out another one-two-three by the Blue Amarda. Overall Sotnikov leads Shibalov by 14m27s and Mardeev by 26m30s. As a result Martin Kolomy and his Tatra Phoenix slide off the overall podium 31m30s behind the leader.
Tomorrow: Stage 10 HAMI-DUNHUANG “The 492 chapels of Mogao” - 517,53 km
The start of this special (360,28 km) is very fast, then the piste becomes very technical and slower with many changes of direction. Nice driving a big oued surrounded by magnificent scenery. At the end competitors will need to pay attention to compass headings and stay on the track alongside the chott.
“I think my experience racing motorcycles meant that I chose to stay in the dry river bed, where it was bumpy and you couldn’t go as fast, rather than go out of it onto smoother ground where you could go faster. When you go alongside a river bed there is the possibility of other, smaller oueds coming into it at an angle and that you can hit them head on. You do that once on a motorcycle, you have the fright of your life and you never do it again… We saw Seb and Elena and went over to check they were OK and when we saw there was nothing we could do we carried on. Now we have a small lead but we need to stay concentrated, as once again today we saw that in rally-raid anything can happen.”
“I stopped for a few minutes. The car was damaged – there was a big washout that he didn’t see and the car received a very big impact. Jean Paul (Cottret – Peterhansel’s co-driver) had a good look at the car but there was too damage for him to do anything. It wasn’t just a question of giving them a spare part, they needed the assistance truck. It isn’t exactly like last year, but Cyril is now leading and we’ll accompany him and help him to try and take the victory. Again today you saw in rally-raid how quickly the situation can change. We started this race with 3 good crews and 2 are already out of the running.”
Bruno Famin (Peugeot Sport Team Manager)
“They used straps to hold the car together and drove another 90 kilometres at a good speed, maybe a slightly too good speed, before stopping again. Now we will have to see what time the car gets to the bivouac and whether it can be repaired or not.”
“We started in third and went really well. We caught Cyril pretty quick. We saw what happened to Loeb and then we drove a bit more carefully behind Cyril, when we got a puncture. We stopped, 2 cars went past and somehow we got lost. Another 5 cars went past and then we got another flat just before the finish. A tough stage and we lost some time but we’re looking forward to more sand dunes, where we should be able to make up some time.
"I’m so proud to have finished in such a good position - thanks to my team Baicmotor Racing Team, thanks for their support and for providing such a good car. Today I’ve been following the cars ahead of us, I’ve been cautious all the stage, and kept my own rhythm. I love the desert and I enjoyed driving in the high temperature. "
“Today was unbelievable! I saw Loeb rolled early in the stage earlier and it was tricky so I had to be cautious. It was such a surprise to come 2nd in the overall classification, unbelievable. I’m very happy!”
“Leob’s accident was a wake up call to me. I was following my team mate Han Wei most of the time, who was also driving cautiously. The navigation is not easy on this stage, but thanks to my co-pilot we did pretty well today.”
Eduard Nikolaev (KAMAZ-master)
"Unfortunately, today we couldn't bring the result home because of a puncture. We drove well, quickly and enjoyed the special stage, I remember it from last year - and then we also had a puncture… We stopped to check the tire, but the wheel was in such a position that the cut was hidden and we didn’t see it. Then we noticed that oil was dripping from the drip tray, but not too much, so we could safely reach the finish of the stage. “
Dmitry Sotnikov (KAMAZ-master)
"It was a classic marathon stage, very hot. On such stages you lose a lot of water, and it is important to restore the body in order to be ready for the next stage. With the truck everything is fine, we just need to check a few sensors, but there are no problems with the vehicle. "