Press attaché of KAMAZ-master reports from the Stage 4 finish of Silk Way Rally:
– The fourth day of the race was a day of help for KAMAZ-master Team. Three crews were taking part in rescue operations. And there were people who needed help.
The longest SWR stage with the length of 908 km, 373 km of which were special section, is already behind. It was the first special with neutralization zone. The first part consisted of fast soil tracks, while the second section went through endless Kazakh steppes, bringing the sportsmen to the bivouac in Astana.
The day was uneasy for Peugeot Sport team. Sebastien Loeb was the only member of the team who could avoid problems. The 9-time winner of WRC dominated during the whole special and won already the third stage on the SWR-2017. As a result Loeb has consolidated his advantage in the overall and now keeps ahead of Cyril Despres for more than an hour. Not seeing a ravine, Stephane Peterhansel couldn’t keep his car and turned over. Airat Mardeev came to his rescue. And a bit later Dmitry Sotnikov’s crew was pulling Cyril Despres’ car out of the ravine. Anton Shibalov also decided to take part in a rescue operation and helped the American Menzies Bryce from X-raid Mini John Cooper Works get out of a ditch.
As a result all turned over cars were safe and KAMAZ trucks moved forward, but it didn’t go smoothly for the three crews: small technical problems and a wheel change – that was why the guys lost precious minutes. Eduard Nikolaev’s crew that previously lost 2 hours due to the cardan shaft issue today was showing the best time on the first half of the special, but in the end he finished fourth.
Siarhei Viazovich and Martin van den Brink were the unluckiest at this stage. Martin’s truck got burned on the third distance and the Dutch had to wait for his partners’ help. In the end his crew lost more than two hours and a half but could continue the race. Situations with fire are not new for the pilot, and he starts thinking about ill fate. For Siarhei Viazovich the battle was finished 35 km before the finish line, when MAZ on one of the turns slipped into the ditch and almost laid on its side.
In the trucks Martin Kolomy is leading again, Gerard de Rooy loses only 21 seconds. His teammate Artur Ardavichus is on third position, with the gap of 1 minute 56 seconds. KAMAZ-master Team today took Places 4, 5, 6, 7, with the best truck driven by Eduard Nikolaev which lost 8 minutes 2 seconds to the leader. Unfortunately, these changes didn’t strengthen their positions in the overall.
Dmitry Sotnikov (KAMAZ-master), pilot, crew No 303: “During the day everything was constantly changing. There was a moment when we thought that we were losing, but the situation has changed and we could win back a bit. Peterhansel needed help, and we spent 5-7 minutes helping him. Then we successfully rescued Cyril Despres, whose car skipped down into the river. We lost there around five minutes. On the second special I caught up with Ardavichus, he “trailed” me, we drove that way quite long, hurried each other. We constantly exchanged our positions and crossed our paths – such a crazy part. We were driving in a meter distance, it was very slippery, and I thought that if something happened both of us could end up lying somewh ere. In the end both of us caught up with Airat Mardeev, seeing us he speeded up. And Ton van Genugten as well. Then four of us started to change positions, and Airat and Artur went first. But we finished all together. We had a very close fight, crossed one another’s direction, but without a signal, it was a trajectory ride. Nobody ‘called’ to the Sentinel. We drove in three, and it provided such a spark! When you drive alone – you don’t realize it, but when you see somebody else, we hurried one another to go faster and faster. As a result, we could win some time, I’m satisfied.”
Dmitry Svistunov (KAMAZ-master), mechanic, crew No300: “We started on a dry ground, it was a fast SS. We passed around 170 km, were caught in a shower and had to go on a very slippery track, it was out of control, therefore we had to slow down. Going to the second part of the special, saw turned over Peugeot, later we saw many other vehicles in ravines. We tried to go very accurately, though we had to slow down. The 10th stage is ahead so the major battle is ahead too.”
RESULTS OF THE FOURTH STAGE. TRUCKS
1. KOLOMY Martin (Tatra Buggyra Racing) – 3h45:50
2. DE ROOY Gérard (De Rooy Iveco) +0:21
3. ARDAVICIUS Artur (De Rooy Iveco) +1:56
4. NIKOLAEV Eduard (КАМАZ-master) +8:02
5. MARDEEV Airat (КАМАZ-master) +10:54
6. SHIBALOV Anton (КАМАZ-master) +16:17
7. SOTNIKOV Dmitry (КАМАZ-master) +16:59
GENERAL STANDINGS. TRUCKS
1. KOLOMY Martin (Tatra Buggyra Racing) – 10h30:50
2. DE ROOY Gérard (De Rooy Iveco) +11:08
3. ARDAVICIUS Artur (De Rooy Iveco) +14:37
4. SHIBALOV Anton (КАМАZ-master) +18:57
5. MARDEEV Airat (КАМАZ-master) +19:15
6. SOTNIKOV Dmitry (КАМАZ-master) +22:12
9. NIKOLAEV Eduard (КАМАZ-master) +2:26:13