Stéphane Peterhansel (Peugeot 3008DKR n°106) in cars and Martin Kolomy (Tatra Phoenix n°311) in trucks, win the 11th stage of the Silk Way Rally between Dunhuang and Jiayuguan, situated at the western end of the Great Wall. On the eve of the two stages considered to be the most enjoyable but also the toughest of the race, Cyril Despres (Peugeot 3008DKR n°100) and Dmitry Sotnikov (Kamaz-Master) continue to dominate the event in their respective categories.
#Peterhansel, ultra rapid assistance
#Kolomy keeps attacking!
#Tomorrow: “the long journey”
Peterhansel, ultra rapid assistance
Eighth car to start on this relatively short special, Stéphane Peterhansel and Jean-Paul Cottret (Peugeot 3008DKR n°106) had at least one good reason to keep up a good pace today – to get up behind Cyril Despres, their team mate and race leader, as quickly as possible, so as to fulfil their role as rapid assistance. Leaving the line 8 minutes behind Despres and Castera they never actually got into the wake of the other Peugeot 3008DKR, but their efforts were rewarded with a 4th stage victory, the 9th for Team Total Peugeot. Second at 1m13s, Cyril Despres and David Castera will once again be able to count on their ‘full risk’ assistance policy tomorrow over the first big dune stage of this Silk Way Rally. Behind the two Peugeots, came the two Mini John Cooper Works of Yazeed Al Rajhi (3rd at 2m08s) and Bryce Menzies (4th at 4m58s). The American takes advantage of the Chinese driver Han Wei’s (6th at 11m04s) extreme caution to take the 2nd place off him overall. Not that Menzies should get too comfortable because neither ‘General Han’ and his Geeley SMG buggy, nor Christian Laveille (Baïcmotor n°107) have the slightest intention of giving the Mini driver an easy ride. Three days from the final finish line in Xi’An, the battle for the podium has only just begun!
Kolomy keeps attacking
Driving in tight formation since arriving in China, the Team Kamaz-Master drivers would appear to be managing the race. Not that they would entertain the idea of letting a stage win slip from their grasp without a struggle. One of the principle actors in the truck race since the first special in Russia, the Czech driver Martin Kolomy and his Tatra Phoenix n°311, knew therefore that he’d have to get on the gas if he wanted to get this 3rd win and defend the third place overall that Airat Mardeev would so like to get his hands on. Beaten to the line yesterday, after a puncture less than 50 kilometres from the finish, Lady Luck decided to shine on Kolomy a little brighter today. Fighting over mere seconds with the Kamaz-Master of Shibalov and Sotnikov that started just behind him, the Czech driver finally finished 49 seconds ahead of Anton Shibalov. Third on the stage at 1m07s, Dmitry Sotnikov and his new generation Kamaz-Master maintain an almost 15 minute lead overall.
Tomorrow: Stage 12 JIAYUGUAN – ALASHAN YOUQI “The long journey” 483,79 km
Tomorrow will be one of the two most demanding specials of the rally (254,75 km) with dunes from beginning to end, interrupted with fast sections of piste. Navigation will play an important role on this stage. Competitors will discover all the different types of terrain that you could hope to find on a rally-raid.
“A good stage, short but nice to drive, twisty but without any holes, the best special since we’ve been in China. Overall everything is OK. We are not taking any risks but we attacked because that is the best way to keep your concentration. We were a little in the dust a moment, Stephane as well, so we didn’t actually end up driving together.”
“We got seriously stuck behind a couple of other cars. The dust was coming towards us so it was impossible to overtake for about 50 kilometres. Then the special changed direction, the wind became more favourable and we able to get past them, pick up the pace and enjoy ourselves. Strategically we finished quite well for tomorrow because we will start first, with Cyril second, so we won’t have to wait too long for him.”
“Another good day. I think we took it a little too cautiously, then Cyril came by and we stayed behind him. Towards the end it got really fast so there wasn’t much else we could do. 4th overall today and now 2nd overall, it feels really good to make up time. We go into the dunes tomorrow and I don’t want to lead in there cos that’s going to be tough, so I think we’re sitting in a really good spot.”
”Today our crew did well, we got stuck behind the car ahead of us for more than 100 KM, we lost a lot of time with that, but we kept our own pace and didn't get distracted. We didn't get lost today, it was perfect. I think I’m lucky to have my current position and I am ready for the following stages. We still have a long way to go, compared with the top pilots, but we will do our best.”
"The truck was great! It's a Tatra, and in such conditions it drives excellently. We attacked, drove at our own pace and overtook a few cars. The fact that we continue to fight with KAMAZ-master is very pleasing, our team is smaller, but we will still fight to the finish. Of course, it's a pity that we lost some time at the very beginning, but there is three days to go and anything can happen. "
"To be honest, we didn't expect such weather. We expected hot weather and it was wet. Last year, too, there was one such day - we drove on wet dunes. Today we tried to go fast. We saw Kolomy, tried to approach him, but felt that he was pushing like hell. The idea of catching him up at all costs was not an option, so sometimes we approached him, sometimes staying behind. As for the truck, everything is fine, during the stage we didn't notice any big problems. "
"A typical "kazakh" stage, twisty, bumpy. We thought that Kolomy would go all-out, he was taking some risks on these twisty roads. He's very good off-piste. Tomorrow he will start first, let him go first into the sands and we will attack him. "