The penultimate stage of the rally-marathon “Dakar-2018” spared not the participants. Two categories have lost serious contenders…
On the road from San Juan to Cordoba front runners was the last real opportunity to dramatically reduce the gap to the leader and to try to improve the position in the General classification. During the first half of the stage that was full of dunes and FESH-fasom, it is important to be careful. Closer to the finish line began expressways, which were especially to please the masters of the WRC, but it was important not to get carried away by the speed and avoid mistakes on the penultimate day…
Toby Price struggled trying to keep up with Kevin Benavides and partner at KTM, the leader of the standings motorcycles Matthias Walkera. The Australian’s second victory in a row, but played time was not enough to change the disposition of the first three, which is likely to be and will remain at the finish on Saturday.
All obviously in the category of quads, where Ignacio Casale leads with a margin of 1 hour and 37 minutes from nearest rival Nicholas Cavigliasso. Flashed at the last stage of the Argentinian Jeremias Gonzalez of Ferioli, won a second victory at stages “Dakar”.
Best SUV for the second consecutive day was Nasser al-Attiyah. The Qatari won his 31st stage in his career and equaled on this indicator with Carlos Sainz. Matador, in turn, held the stage calmly and took no risks, losing more than 20 minutes to the winner, but most importantly – on the eve of the final day he remained on the top of the standings with an advantage of 46 minutes. Who, indeed, had no luck, so this is the second Peugeot driver Stephane Peterhansel. 13-the multiple winner “Dakar” crashed into a tree and upon impact broke the steering. Because of this, the Frenchman lost more than an hour and fell back to fourth place in the General classification, behind Ingela de vilers, which is now giving way to eight minutes. Another eliminated from among the contenders for the podium was Bernard ten Brink. In the middle of the race, the Dutchman stopped on the track due to technical problems and arrange a gathering.
The struggle for the victory in the truck category ended prematurely. Still a few hours before the start came the news that Federico Villagra, inferior to the second, Eduard Nikolaev, has violated the regulations when filling in the previous step. But before the end of the first half of the special stage the car Argentinian racing driver was a malfunction in transmission operation. Getting to the liaison at a speed of 40 km/h, the crew Iveco decided to stop participating.
Thus, celebrated the victory on the penultimate stage, Eduard Nikolaev will start the final stage with a lead of 3 hours and 53 minutes from Sergey Vyazovich on “MAZ”. On the third place in the General classification, went up the second driver of the “KAMAZ-Master” Ayrat Mardeev.
French rider johnny Aubert can be completely satisfied with their return to the Dakar after his debut in 2012 when he finished 14th. Former champion Enduro made just perfect. Hardly anyone was expecting great achievements from rider from a humble Spanish team Gas Gas. However on the penultimate stage Ober showed the sixth result and the same position is in the overall standings, trailing only four racers on the KTM and one on a Honda. Bodes well for the future…
Given that the distance is the 14th and final special stage is only 120 kilometers, the chances of Kevin Benavides to win is very slim. The Honda rider behind the leader Matthias Walkner 22 minutes and 31 seconds. This means that for every kilometer the Argentine will have to play for 12 seconds, if he wants to climb the highest step of the podium in Cordoba.
Carlos Sainz: “the First half of the stage was very difficult. I think many are having problems. I tried to drive carefully, despite the large number of high-speed sections.
We have seen many dramas from the first day of the race so you can’t relax until the finish. Not to say that this is just crazy “Dakar”, but definitely very difficult. Hope Saturday all goes well”.
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