A multi-day rally raid in Morocco has started today. There are five difficult days ahead and the same number of special stages with a total distance of 1362 kilometers. Today the drivers have taken part in a short Prologue – 10 kilometers long special stage, where the main task for the leaders has been not to let the competitors pass.
The G-Energy Team in Toyota Hilux run by Vladimir Vasilyev comfortably finished in fourth position in the overall standings.
The first line of the final protocol was occupied by the Qatari Nasser Al-Attiyah – his Toyota was the fastest. The second was the Czech Martin Prokop; Jakub Przygonski, the current season leader, rounded out the top three.
Vladimir Vasilyev, driver, “The rally special stage was narrow, there were a lot of cliffs, rocks, stones and it was quite slippery. We passed it almost on foot during the recce. It was allowed to use a bicycle and we managed to ride a two-wheeled vehicle a little, then we had a flat tire – there are a lot of stones here. So, we spied out the rest of the route on foot”.
Konstantin Zhiltsov, co-driver, “The rally track turned out to be quite complicated; there was a cliff on one side, so the slightest mistake could lead to a sad finish. The race is quite long and it doesn’t make sense to do something dumb at the very beginning. We drove carefully and quickly, and at the moment we have a very good result. The rally raid will begin when the special stages of 300-400 kilometers start, and the Prologue is needed not to fall completely “deep” in the protocol and not to start first, opening the route. I think the task was performed perfectly”.
There was an accident: in the middle of the special stage there was a winding road with a sharp right turn. Yasir Seaidan, a participant from Saudi Arabia, went too steeply to the right; the car drove onto a hill and rolled over. The rescuers crew put his Toyota Hilux on wheels, but as soon as the Saudi started, he was caught up by the next crew of Bernhard Ten Brinke. Ten Brinke could not overtake Seaidan – the twisted track width was exactly for one car, so the crew was not very friendly at the finish point at time control. But there was no fight.
The struggle was very close, and the crews finished fairly tightly; the results allowed the leaders to choose comfortable positions in the starting list for tomorrow.
The Friday special stages will be opened by the Dakar legend – Carlos Sainz in the Mini JKW buggy, followed by Harry Hunt in the Peugeot 38 DKR and Cyril Despres, also in the Mini. Vladimir Vasilyev and Konstantin Zhiltsov will start their battle for points fifth in a row, right after their main competitor Jakub Przygonski. Who will be in an advantageous position and how tomorrow will go, you will know on 5 October in the afternoon, when the crews will overcome 516 kilometers of the race section.
The first full racing day will be located between Fez and Erfoud and will be divided into several parts – at first drivers will have a liaison to the start of the special stage that will be divided into two parts of 103 and 91 km, separated by the liaison. The first part will be quite technical, while the final kilometers of competitive distance will pass off the road, where participants will face the first dunes. In addition, the final Friday special stage route will be significantly different for participants in cars, trucks, motorcycles and quads.