January 5, 2020 - Sunday
G-ENERGY TEAM: Stage 1 – how not to puncture wheels and find the right course
STAGE 1 | Jeddah > Al Wajh | Date: 05.01.2019 | (GMT+3)
Special stage: 319 km | Total distance: 751 km | Liaison: 433 km
Weather conditions: day +18С, night +6C, wind 34-36 m/s 
The 42nd DAKAR has started! On Sunday, the participants covered the distance of the first stage from Jeddah to Al-Wajh. Saudi Arabia hosts the legendary rally marathon for the first time that gives a special atmosphere to the race.

This is a new chapter in the rally history, which means that DAKAR is completely new for all participants: unfamiliar sections and special stages, as well as totally new bivouacs, the first of which is waiting for racers tonight in Al Wajh. The DAKAR organizers located it very good – it is established on the Red Sea shores.

The distance of the first day special stage from Jeddah towards Al Wajh was 319 competitive kilometers. Such a significant length of the route cannot be called typical for the starting stage. The more difficult it was for absolutely all the DAKAR rally participants – in a new country, on unfamiliar territory, they immediately faced a serious challenge. But all drivers and riders are on an equal footing – none of the favorites has the advantage of knowing the local route features.
The special stage opening the 2020 race began with winding roads in canyons and dry river beds. From the very start, the field tackled the first dunes and bumps with small sandy hills and soft sand. However, the racers had a short-term opportunity to take a breath – the 19-km neutralization zone, where they had to drive on tarmac surface. Then there was a new segment of the race distance – speed sections on the sandy plateau, where terrain association was complicated by a large number of regular and parallel tracks. After that, the track went to canyons and dried riverbeds again, where the co-drivers faced very difficult navigation. And at the very finish of the first stage, a sandy impassability with a lot of vegetation and wider, faster canyons began.


The first special stage for the Car standings participants, where Vladimir VASILYEV and Vitaliy Yevtyekhov are performing in the MINI JCW Rally supported by Gazpromneft Lubricants, was very difficult. An interesting fight, unexpected results, the downfall of favorites, many punctured wheels – there has been everything today!
Unfortunately, not the most pleasant news began to come from the first kilometers of the distance. At the 47thkm of the special stage, one of the DAKAR favorites, Yazeed Al Rajhi, lost almost 11 minutes to the head of the race, Nasser Al-Attiyah, and set only the 40th time. And after another 20 kilometers, Roman Dumas stopped - the RD Limited buggy, created by his own team, caught fire. Perhaps, this is the end of the race for the Frenchman.

Jakub Przygonski, who took the third place, stopped at the 146th km of the first special stage because of the gearbox breakdown. For several hours, the Pole was trying to bring his MINI back to life and eventually managed to get to the finish line; he took the last place and lost six hours to the special stage winner. 
Nasser Al-Attiyah took the leadership from the very start. The Qatari led the race for most of the first special stage, but less than a hundred kilometers from the finish line it was his turn to face problems. Three punctured wheels resulted in a loss of about ten minutes. As a result, Al-Attiyah finished only with a fourth result.

So the top three winners at the first special stage finish were the crews performing in MINI cars. Unexpectedly for everyone, the Lithuanian racer Vaidotas Zala, performing in the “customer” MINI All4Racing, set the best time – he won the DAKAR special stage for first time. Stephane Peterhansel finished the second, and Carlos Sainz rounded out the top three – Frenchman and Spaniard, representing the X-raid factory team, drive the rear-wheel Mini JCW Buggies.
Toyota drivers Nasser Al-Attiyah and Bernhard ten Brinke have the fourth and fifth results today. Mathieu Serradori set the sixth time. The next ones are Orlando Terranova in MINI and Yazeed Al Rajhi.

The X-raid G-Energy Team crew of Vladimir VASILYEV and Vitaliy Yevtyekhov increased the pace during the special stage, winning back the positions from their rivals. On the first kilometers, the Russian-Ukrainian duet was at the 16th place, thanks to four punctured wheels, but finished in the top ten with the ninth result. Eric van Loon, Fernando Alonso, Martin Prokop, Khalid Al Qassimi, Giniel de Villiers, Benediktas Vanagas, Nani Roma, Wei Han and many other strong opponents were behind VASILYEV at the finish line.

Vladimir VASILYEV became the best Russian driver at the first day finish. His compatriots Denis Krotov and Alexander Dorossinskij finished in 21st and 22nd positions respectively.


In the Truck standings, where the G-Energy logo is placed on the MAZ-SPORTauto team vehicles, many events have also occurred during the special stage distance.
The KAMAZ-master team drivers Andrey Karginov and Dmitry Sotnikov took the leadership from the start, Martin van den Brink was the third. However, both leaders and their rivals either went up in the virtual results table or fell down. It was impossible to name the top three up to the finish line – it completely changed fifty kilometers before the special stage completion.
Van den Brink left the leading group first – it happened at the end of the first third of the special stage distance. Dmitry Sotnikov, on the contrary, rolled back at the beginning of the final third, and Andrey Karginov lost leadership at the very finish.
Anton Shibalov (KAMAZ-master) became the winner of the first DAKAR 2020 special stage in the Truck standings; Sergey VYAZOVICH, the MAZ-SPORTauto team driver in the bonneted truck of the Minsk Automobile Plant, lost him one and a half minutes. The third place was taken by Janus van Kasteren Jr. 
Dmitry Sotnikov finished the fourth, Martin Macik rounded out the top five. The next ones are Martin Soltys and Andrey Karginov.
Alexander VASILEVSKY, another Belarusian team driver, took the eighth place; Ales Loprais (Tatra), Eduard Nikolaev (KAMAZ) and Alexey VISHNEVSKY (MAZ), who took 11th place, rushed to the finish line after him.

The surface nature at the second stage will change significantly. If the surface during more than a third of the first special stage consisted of sands and dunes, then on the second day the participants will mainly drive prime coat and stones – only five percent of the special stage distance will be in the sands. It means that we can see the new “epidemic of punctures” that complicated the life of the racers at the first special stage. In addition, on the second day participants will find navigation tasks again – it will be complicated by a large number of regular and parallel tracks, where they will need to choose the right route. 

The second stage road books will be given to the crews 15 minutes before the day start and the co-drivers will not have enough time to thoroughly prepare, having studied the dangerous moments and places that require special attention. They will have to go "from scratch"!
As a rule, receiving the road book for a day, the crew has time to understand the day overall picture, the special stage nature, and the co-driver can find “navigation traps” in advance.

Vladimir Vasilyev, International Master of Motorsports of Russia, the FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Rallies holder, the X-raid G-Energy Team driver, crew No. 317, 
“At the pre-start tests, we didn’t fully understand the car. Most likely there were no such tracks – the car was very “sharp and nervous”. Now we’ll take a look at the suspension settings. Maybe this is due to the fact that we removed the rear stabilizer. First, we’ll check the wheel alignment, and then the rest. And, of course, four punched wheels are certainly too much… I thought at the end, “There are no more spare wheels, I will drive quietly”. We went-went, and ten kilometers before the finish we punctured another wheel! And the most important thing was that we pierced the same wheel three times. Why did it happen? The stones are dusted with sand. You drive in the sand and don’t see the stones”.

Sergey Vyazovich, International Master of Motorsports of the Republic of Belarus, head of the MAZ-SPORTauto team, crew No. 503 driver, 
Today we’ve caused a little trouble at the beginning – somewhere at the 30th kilometer we had already begun to catch up with the T3 category. Overtaking one of these participants, we missed the entrance to the canyon. For a long time, we had to wait for our dust to settle down in order to understand where and what we missed. We lost about seven to eight minutes at that place… When we left for the second half, we decided to remain calm. We caught up with rivals ahead of us, drove along one track, but we didn’t take a point. So we turned around, and began to look for it. When we made a couple of laps, there was a signal... At the end, we decided to add for real, because we understood that we needed to recoup, so we attacked to the finish. The road was fast, in soft sand – it was not dangerous for a truck. On the tracker, you can see that in the second part MAZ had the highest speed".
Stage 1 statistics
Preliminary online results
Rally-Guide (pdf)
Summary Stage1
Download hi-rez photos of the X-RAID G-ENERGY TEAM
X-raid G-Energy: b7c3e352-074c-4f32-a0a5-e266a767827f.png   d662097e-980e-4869-aff7-d7d11565361a.png   bed5f463-5867-45e8-a9e9-0c27fc3ae12e.png   7bb66e0a-e86b-4110-8264-0c8b17053196.png
Download hi-rez photos of the MAZ-SPORTauto team
MAZ-SPORTauto:  c4c50d9e-f140-4063-b0a7-9427eb93b3ca.png    d662097e-980e-4869-aff7-d7d11565361a.png    bed5f463-5867-45e8-a9e9-0c27fc3ae12e.png   7bb66e0a-e86b-4110-8264-0c8b17053196.png
Gazpromneft Lubricants Company (Gazpromneft-SM LLC), a Gazprom Neft subsidiary specializing in the production and sale of oils, lubricants and technical fluids. Is partner of the crews of the MAZ-SPORTauto team and the X-RAID G-Energy Team led by Vladimir Vasilyev and Vitaly Evtekhov.
G-Energy is a premium brand of motor oils from Gazprom Neft, designed for the most modern European, American and Japanese cars. The unique adaptive ACF technology used in the oil allows you to enhance the necessary performance properties depending on the engine operating conditions, activating the necessary additives at the right time. Products are manufactured at the Gazpromneft-SM plant in Bari (Italy). Oils are approved by the world’s leading manufacturers (MB, VW, Renault, GM, etc.). In 2013 Gazpromneft-SM was the first company at the Russian market to produce a specialized line of 100% synthetic G-Energy Racing oils, specially designed for professional racing cars and modern sports cars. G-Energy Racing oils provide maximum engine protection against wear, as well as effectively protect its parts from the formation of deposits, maintaining operational properties even at maximum loads typical for racing.
Mobile laboratory is a unique complex that allows to make the rapid oils analysis. It is equipped with three high-tech devices: Fluid Scan IR spectrometer, xSort xRF spectrometer and MiniVisc mini viscometer.   
The Fluid Scan IR spectrometer assesses the degree of the working oil degradation compared to a sample of clean product. It measures the additive package relative depletion and the base number reduction, determines the degree of the product contamination with coolant, water, soot; determines the degree of the product nitration, oxidation, sulfation. The measured values ​​of these indicators allow to diagnose the engine systems condition and assess the degree of the product “aging”.  
The xSF xSort spectrometer shows the content of metals and abrasive contaminants (atmospheric dust) in samples of operating oil. Metals in oil are products of parts wear, indicating elements of additives.   
The viscometer allows to assess the dynamics of changes in the operating oil kinematic viscosity that, in turn, is responsible for ensuring the pressure in the lubrication system and ensuring the required thickness of the oil film on the rubbing, loaded parts. The measured parameters values​​allow to diagnose system failure and engine parts wear, to determine the presence of pollutants, to assess the reserve of the product operational properties.
Gazpromneft – Lubricants (OOO Gazpromneft-SM), a subsidiary of Gazprom Neft, specializing in the production and sale of oils, lubricants and technical fluids. It was created in November 2007. Products are manufactured at 6 sites in Russia, Italy and Serbia. Total production is 600 thousand tons ofhigh-quality oils, lubricants and technical fluids per year. The Omsk Lubricants Plant (OZSM) has the most modern complex in Russia for oils mixing, filling and packaging with a total annual mixing and packing capacity of 300 thousand tons. The system of Gazpromneft - Lubricants management and its production assets complies with the requirements of international standards ISO 9001, ISO 14001, IATF 16949 and OHSAS 18001. The company products consumers are the largest industrial enterprises; the range includes 600 types of oils and lubricants for all market sectors (over 1500 commodity items). The company products have over 330 approvals from leading manufacturers: KAMAZ, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Volkswagen, Volvo, Renault, General Motors, Cummins, MAN, ZF, Bosch Rexroth, and others. The company also manufactures and sells marine oils. Gazpromneft-SM accounts for 21% of the packaged lubricants market in Russia, and also operates in the CIS and Baltic countries, Europe, Central and Southeast Asia, Africa, South America, etc. The company products are represented in 75 countries of the world.
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For questions to MAZ-SPORTauto's crews:
Victoria Makar +375333835545
For questions to Vladimir Vasiliev:
Lina Arnautova +79219390149
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