The second day of the DAKAR international rally passed along the route from Al Wajh to Neom. The marathon participants continue to become familiar with the new territory – the rally is held in Saudi Arabia for the first time, so no one knows what surprises racers and riders will have to face. On the first day, the main sensation was the name of the stage winner in the Car standings – Lithuanian Vaidotas Zala, as well as the failure of the main favorite of the Truck standings – Eduard Nikolaev, who finished only the tenth due to his KAMAZ breakdown.
Last night, the race organizers announced the first day official results, according to which some participants changed their positions. The results, published immediately after the special stage completion, have the status of preliminary ones – they do not take into account all kinds of punishments: fines and penalties.
For example, in the first day official results Vladimir VASILYEV and Vitaliy Yevtyekhov, performing with the Gazpromneft – Lubricants support, rose one position, moving from ninth to eighth place in the Car standings.
But this is the first day news. And what did the participants find on the second day? The surface nature has changed significantly. If more than a third of the first special stage was sands and dunes, then on the second day the participants mainly drove prime coat and stones – only five percent of the special stage distance was in sands.
At yesterday’s briefing, the organizers warned the participants that they would tackle navigation traps – there were a lot of parallel and intersecting tracks, where they had to find the right route. Unfortunately, this warning became prophetic for a whole group of racers – on the second day many of them were lost, including the first day leaders.
The morning was unusual. For the first time in the race history, each crew was searched for phones using metal detectors. All communication equipment should be stored in a special box that the organizers sealed at the stage start. Co-drivers received road books exactly 15 minutes before the start and, of course, navigation had a significant impact on the second special stage results in the Car standings.
Yazeed Al Rajhi, the fastest racer in Saudi Arabia, took the lead from the second stage start. At each control point he increased his lead, but at the last kilometers of the distance there was a sudden loss of time and the finish was only in seventh position, thirteen and a half minutes behind the special stage winner.
On the first day of DAKAR, the three best results were achieved by crews performing in off-road vehicles and MINI buggies. On the second day, the situation changed radically – Giniel de Villiers set the best time in Toyota; Orlando Terranova (MINI), the X-raid team representative, finished the second, four minutes behind him; and Khalid Al Qassimi, driving the ex-factory Peugeot buggy, rounded out the top three. Thus, none of the first day winners have been able to repeat their success today.
What happened to yesterday’s leaders and a whole group of their rivals? It was navigation. One by one, the participants lost the route and began to stray. Some of them managed to find the right direction relatively quickly, while others lost dozens of minutes doing it.
The main stroke of fate was taken by the X-raid factory team drivers. In addition to the Peterhansel and Sainz, Vladimir VASILYEV was also lost. The Russian driver of the X-raid G-Energy Team, performing in MINI, supported by the Gazpromneft-Lubricants company, has fought for a place in the top three today, taking the third place seven minutes behind the leader Yazeed Al Rajhi. His result could have been better if not for the next wheel puncture. But at the very finish, the crew of Vasilyev and Yevtyekhov lost more than twenty minutes to find the right route. The result is only the 17th position.
But the main loser of the second day was Fernando Alonso. The two-time Formula 1 champion had at an excellent pace, but then stopped – the damage to the wheel forced the crew to repair it in the field. But the breakdown was too serious and the racers had to wait for a technical assistance car. As a result, about two and a half hours were lost, and instead of the finish line in the group of leaders, there was only a place in the fifth ten.
After two stages, DAKAR is led by Orlando Terranova. Another X-raid driver Carlos Sainz is five minutes behind him, in the second position. Nasser Al-Attiyah is in the third place – he loses six minutes to the leader. Vladimir VASILYEV takes the 12th place, he is 29 minutes behind Terranova.
The MAZ-SPORTauto team crew led by Sergey VYAZOVICH and supported by Gazpromneft – Lubricants won the second stage. Thanks to this victory, the Belarusian driver of the bonneted truck of the Minsk Automobile Plant, became a leader.
The main rivals of Sergey VYAZOVICH – the KAMAZ-master team drivers – made several navigation errors today that led to a time loss. Anton Shibalov, the first stage winner, was in the lead at the very beginning of the second special stage, but then he got lost and VYAZOVICH became the leader.
During the special stage, Andrey Karginov in KAMAZ was ahead of the bonneted MAZ with the G-Energy logo on board twice, but he made the same number mistakes and went the wrong way – it allowed Sergey VYAZOVICH to go ahead and finish Monday with the best result, thus making a present to Anton Zaporoshchenko, the crew mechanics who celebrates a birthday today. At the finish, the winner admitted that the crew owes the victory to the co-driver Pavel Garanin, who managed to solve the navigation tasks prepared by the DAKAR organizers.
Dmitry Sotnikov (KAMAZ) took the second place at the second stage finish, his teammate Andrey Karginov became the third. Martin Macik finished the fourth, followed by Eduard Nikolaev.
Unfortunately, the other two drivers of the MAZ-SPORTauto team failed to support the initiative of their leader Sergey VYAZOVICH – Alexey VISHNEVSKIY set the 18th time, and Alexander VASILEVSKIY became the twentieth.
WHAT PARTICIPANTS WILL FIND TOMORROW
The third day route of the DAKAR rally marathon will lead the field to the border with Jordan. The third special stage is the “highest” one for the entire race: racers will fight at an altitude of 1,400 meters above sea level. The surface nature will change again – the natural roads will again be replaced by sands that will make up two-thirds of the special stage distance. And besides the sands, the route will go through several mountain canyons.