Kazakhstan at Africa Eco Race - stages 6-908 января 2013, 20:16
Corrections have been made in the standings after the fourth stage of Africa Eco Race-2013.
During 451km-long fourth stage from Oued Draa to Gwirat Larjam, the truck of Portuguese team Oleoban/MAN Portugal driven by Elisabete Jacinto flipped over to one side. The crew of Russian KAMAZ-Master truck Anton Shibalov, Yevgeniy Yakovlev and Dmitriy Sotnikov stopped to help the Portuguese team out of the truck and then pulled their truck back to the wheels. According to the rules of the race, the time spent aiding another crew is returned back to the racers.
As a result of the time corrections, the Russian team finished the fourth stage at the 11th place, while its previous standing was in the 15th place.
The changes in the standing affected Kazakhstan's team Astana crew of Kanat Shagirov and Aleksander Moroz on MEBAR M440 T2-class offroader as well: they are now ranked 14th in the fourth stage vs the previous 15th place. Shagirov and Moroz were leading the T2 class in three stages in a row.
Yuriy Sazonov and Arslan Sakhimov on BOWLER offroader. ©Tengrinews.kz
The corrections also affected the results of the fifth stage: Kazakhstan's Yuriy Sazonov And Arslan Sakhimov on T1 BOWLER offroader used to be ranked 18th and Kanat Shagirov and Aleksander Moroz on T2 MEBAR M440 were 21st. After the corrections the crews’ positions were changed to 16th and 19th, correspondingly.
Kanat Shagirov and Aleksander Moroz on MEBAR M440. ©Tengrinews.kz
The organizer and leader of Africa Eco Race-2013 Jean-Louis Schlesser said that Kazakhstan team Astana made a successful debut at the race.
“The race is going well, there are many participants and thus, the battle is very tense. I have to say that Kazakhstan team made a very successfully debut at the Africa Eco Race 2013: it is represented by three crews. And we are very happy that Astana continues its way to the finish in Dakar,” the 64-y.o. French racer said.
Earlier Marat Abykayev, president of Kazakhstan Automotorsport Federation suggested Schlesser to arrange a similar race in Kazakhstan. The parties agreed to continue detailed negotiations after the finish of African rally raid.
Director of Astana team Marat Abykayev. ©Tengrinews.kz
One of the crews of Astana team won the sixth stage in T2 category of еру Africa Eco Race 2013.
Kanat Shagirov and Aleksander Moroz on T2 MEBAR M440 covered the Dakhla - Chami stage's 1604km special section in 1 hour 48 minutes and 11 seconds became 16th in the stage’s standings. Them came first in their T2 class.
Yuriy Sazonov and Arslan Sakhimov driving T1 BOWLER offroader were 18th in the stage and 13th in their T1 class. The time of the second crew of Astana made 1 hour 49 minutes and 25 seconds.
Yuriy Sazonov and Arslan Sakhimov. ©Tengrinews.kz
The stage was again won by its organizer Jean-Louis Schlesser and Cyril Esquirol. His team Sonangol Schlesser was one minute ahead of Joost Van Cauwenberge and Jacques Castelein (Raid Lynx). They were followed by Paulo Ferreira and Jorge Monteiro from Ferreira/Monteiro team.
The sixth stage came after a good day of rest, and all the competitors were ready to attack the second week of the race in Mauritania. After a liaison along the road that overlooked the Ocean at the border between Morocco and Mauritania, the 'No Man’s Land' between the two countries, the vehicles had a small liaison of about ten kilometers to reach the departure of the Special Stage.
The track was very beautiful at first alongside the beach, sandy with some areas of nasty small white boulders. Next, the competitors crossed some small off piste sections of camel grass. Navigation without landmarks was not always easy. The track consisted of some very fast sandy sections as far as the finish. Then there was just a short liaison of 40 km to rejoin the camp at Chami.
During the seventh stage that participants of Africa Eco Race-2013 had to cover 646km from Chami to Akjoujt in Mauritania.
Kazakhstan T1 crew of Yuriy Sazonov and Arslan Sakhimov finished the race in the 14th place and in the 9th in their T1 category. According to Sazonov, the first 300km of the race went smooth, but then the racers had to pass 8km of quick sands.
"The battle route was 431 kilometers. The route went along different surfaces: from hard rocky soil to quick sands. Everything went well in the first 300km, but than the real battle began: 8 kilometers of quick sands. As far as we could see, most of the crews were stopping,” Yuriy Sazonov said after the finish.
"We had to dig our car out of the sand four times. At some point we had to walk the route to see that the car does not get entangled into the sand,” Arslan Sakhimov added.
Another crew of Astana, Kanat Shagirov and Aleksander Moroz on MEBAR M440, finished the stage in the 28th place and in the 3rd place in their T2 class.
“It was a very interesting stage that required lots of thinking. It was a high-speed track in places: around 130 to 150 kilometers. But the sands had their effect. Many cars are still there. We have passed the dunes without any problems but then our clutch cylinder failed and we had to eliminate the breakage during the race and, of course, lost time. But in general, sands are a rather common obstacle for Kazakhstan racers. We have passed hundreds of kilometers of sands back home,” Aleksander Moroz said.
Aleksander Moroz. ©Tengrinews.kz
The difficulties of the race, however, did not have much of an effect on the general standings of Kazakhstan crews after the seventh stage. Sazonov-Sakhimov team was still ranked 16th and Shagirov-Moroz team even gained two lines and was ranked 17th. The second team still remains the leader in the T2 class.
French team Sonangol Schlesser won the seventh stage: it was their fifth stage victory. The crew of Jean-Louis Schlesser had problems with the car in the very beginning of the stage: the front part of the car was damaged during the race. French team was 1.5 minutes ahead of Russian team KAMAZ-Master of Anton Shibalov, Yevgeniy Yakovlev and Dmitriy Sotnikov. Another truck driven by Tomas Tomecek and Vojtech Moravek from LiveScore Team was in the third place.
The seventh rather long stage started intensively with the first 30 kilometers of the Special Stage comprised of dune crossings that took a lot of navigation. There were some great driving and navigation remained important as far as 72 km. Next, despite some major changes of direction and some rocky passages, the track was good for almost 200 km. The second part of the journey was more vigorous with a small section of 40 km composed of dune tracks, camel grass and some crossings. After this passage where both drivers and navigators were put to the test, there were only 100 km left on a good track, alternating between sandy, rocky and very sandy areas before reaching Azougui, about ten kilometers from Atar. A pass consisting of a very soft track at first and then very rocky towards the summit was the last difficulty of the day. Once at the top, the participants took in the breathtaking view before starting a sandy descent as far as the finish on a lovely sandy track. The liaison was towards the camp at Akjoujt, where the caravan stayed for two days (the eighth stage was a loop around Akjoujt). This gave the competitors a chance to admire the splendors of Mauritania, notably during the ascent of the magnificent Tenzak pass.
Kazakhstan crew of Kanat Shagirov and Aleksander Moroz driving MEBAR M440 won in T2 class at the eighth stage of the Africa Eco Race 2013.
Shagirov and Moroz passed the distance around Akjoujt in 8 hours 3 minutes and 57 second and were ranked 14th at the stage. This is the sixth time Astana wins a stage in T2 class.
Kanat Shagirov. ©Tengrinews.kz
Another Kazakhstan crew Yuriy Sazonov and Arslan Sakhimov on BOWLER offroader finished the stage in the 35th place with a penalty of 12 hours. The crew is ranked 21st in T1 class.
The stage was traditionally won by Jean-Louis Schlesser and Cyril Esquirol. They were 16 minutes ahead of Elisabete Jacinto, the only female participant of the race. They are followed by Tomas Tomecek and Vojtech Moravek.
This was a stage in the form of a loop that allowed assistants and teams to organize themselves and recover. However, this was not the case for the participants who took part in the most beautiful sand stage of Mauritania. The day started in the most spectacular canyon of the country with a magnificent trial section in the dunes. Next, the Special Section comprised of a succession of sandy river beds with small very soft dunes that resulted in high fuel consumption. The competitors left the river bed after 50 km and got back onto a corrugated metal track for around 15 km. They then continued along river beds with small dunes, stones and sometimes vegetation that was difficult to navigate in places. After a magnificent pass at El Hnouk, the route was easier for 40 km. After about 200 km, the competitors reached CP 2. From then on, there were some amazing conditions; particularly after a short off piste section as far as the hollow boulder at 218 km, there were five crossings, some more difficult than others, as far as CP 3. The last 70 km towards the finish at the camp were just a formality on a good fast track.
Kazakhstan crews Kanat Shagirov-Aleksander Moroz and Yuriy Sazonov-Arslan Sakhimov finished the ninth stage of Africa Eco Race-2013 among the top 20 racers.
Sazonov and Sakhimov driving BOWLER offroader passed the 459km route from Akjoujt to Tenadi (special section of 441km) in 7 hours 22 minutes and 57 seconds and were ranked 14th at the stage and 9th in the T1 class.
“The track was constantly changing. The rocks were followed by sand dunes, then rocks and dunes again. Vibration and noise were very high at the rocks sections. I could barely hear what Arslan was saying. Closer to the finish the channel narrowed and we had to drive among the trees at 90-100 km/h. We broke our side mirrors. But what's most important is that we made it to the finish,” Yuriy Sazonov said after the finish.
Yuriy Sazonov and Arslan Sakhimov on BOWLER. ©Tengrinews.kz
Yuriy Sazonov and Arslan Sakhimov on BOWLER. ©Tengrinews.kz
Shagirov and Moroz driving MEBAR M440 had problems with their car at the end of the distance. The crew stopped 100km from the finish. The team could not count on any help, because the track was very narrow and maintenance cars were not allowed on it. That’s why Kanat and Aleksander eliminated the problem themselves. Kazakhstan crew still made it to the finish in the 16th place. And they are, however, still the leaders in the T2 class.
The stage was won by Egyptian crew of Abdelhamid Abouyoussef and Mahmoud Noureldin from Abouyoussef/Noureldin team. They were followed by Yves and Jean Fromont. The leaders of the general standings Jean-Louis Schlesser and Cyril Esquirol were the 3rd place at this stage.
This Special of the race was not only the longest but equally the most difficult of the fifth edition. After 65 km of fast track, the competitors came back to the foot of the first dunes. The first section of 15 km towards CP 1 was a big challenge in both navigation and driving skills. Once out of the dunes, there were still around fifty kilometers to complete, with again six crossings that were more and less difficult, before leaving the dunes. The rest of the journey to CP 2 was carried out on sections of off piste with a changeable landscape because of recent rains in Mauritania that had broken down the tracks in areas. It was necessary therefore to zig-zag between obstacles and to maintain the right direction. A high level of driving and navigation skills were needed. Next, as far as the finish, the Special section continued on a beautiful track that was fast to very fast, most often sandy and with some winding passages between the dunes. Competitors saw the Aguila Fai wells at 348 km that are the biggest in Mauritania.
In the overall general standings Jean louis Schlesser and Cyrilthe Esquirol on a T1 Schlesser car are ranked first. Russian team KAMAZ-Master is ranked second in the general standings. It is followed by another truck crew of Tomas Tomecek and Vojtech Moravek (LiveScore Team).
Kazakhstan crews Shagirov-Moroz (1st in T2 category) and Sazonov-Sakhimov (10th in T1 category) are ranked 11th and 15th, correspondingly in the general standings.
There are two more stages lying ahead.