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1 out of 4 Kazakhstan crew remain in Dakar after Stage 9

16 января 2013, 01:35

The most prestigious transcontinental cross-country rally Dakar-2013 kicked off on January 5. The route crosses three countries: Peru, Argentina and Chile.

Kazakhstan's racing team Astana is represented by 2 offroaders.

Stage 7: Calama-Salta

The ascent of the Andes Cordillera was in the small hours, taking all the drivers and teams in convoy for a liaison stage finishing at a record altitude of 4,975 metres, at the top of Argentina’s highest mountain pass. During the special stage, the needle of the altimeter fluctuated between 3,400 m and 4,000 m, but the speedometer rarely went below 100 km/h, despite the lack of power which affected all the vehicles. Still on the subject of figures, at this time of the year and at the highest altitude, the thermometer displayed an average temperature of 15 degrees. When all is said and done, the biggest difficulty was for motorcyclists to maintain their stamina.

Kazakhstan crew of Bauyrzhan Issabayev-Dmitriy Yugai (#409) finished the 7th stage in the 49th place, which got them to the 50th place overall, one line up from the previous rankings. 

The crew of Bauyrzhan Issabayev and Dmitriy Yugai. Photo courtesy of RaceFace Sports Media Syndicate

The crew of Bauyrzhan Issabayev and Dmitriy Yugai. Photo courtesy of RaceFace Sports Media Syndicate

Aidyn Rakhimbayev-Gabdulla Ashimov (#410) crew finished the stage in the 71st place gaining to lines in the general rankings and advancing to the 69th place.

French motorcycle rider Thomas Bourgin (#106) fell victim of a fatal traffic accident on the link route as he made his way to the start of the day's special stage.

The accident took place at 08.23 a.m. local time on the way up to the Chilean side of the mountain range. The 25-year-old rider collided with a Chilean police car that was travelling in the opposite direction. The rally's medical teams deployed on the ground were only able to certify the rider's death, probably instant.

Thomas Bourgin, from Saint Etienne, where he was born on December 23rd 1987, was in 68th place in the overall ranking of his first Dakar. He had realized his passion since 2009 when he took part in the Morocco Rally, followed by a 4th place in the 2011 Africa Race and a 7th place finish in the Tunisia Rally.

Thomas Bourgin. Photo courtesy of www.dakar.com

Thomas Bourgin. Photo courtesy of www.dakar.com

The 7th stage of the Dakar, in mourning following the death of rider Thomas Bourgin, was won by American Kurt Caselli (an all-terrain expert) in the bike category. Cyril Despres lost ground on Olivier Pain, who still leads, on the crossing of the Andes Mountain range. In the car race, Stéphane Peterhansel slightly consolidated his advantage over Nasser Al Attiyah by winning his 61st stage victory on the Dakar.

In the quad race, after having lost out on victory to Ignacio Casale, Chilean Marcos Patronelli again saw a new stage winner take victory from him, in the form of Sebastian Palma, who was able to draw on the full power of his Can-Am. Although he finished 34'' behind his countryman, Patronelli is still on top of the general standings with a comfortable lead: 1 hour and 14 minutes over Casale, and 1 hour 50 minutes over Sonik.

The profile of this mountain stage asked especially difficult questions of the car category, bearing in mind that engines equipped with turbos suffer significant loss of power at altitude. This supposed handicap did not stop the Mini driven by Stéphane Peterhansel producing the best time at the special stage finish. This was the Frenchman’s 61st stage victory. The distance protecting him from the threat posed by Nasser Al Attiyah rose to 3'14'' by the end of the day.

Gerard de Rooy's (trucks) win ratio on arriving in Argentina was 5 out of a possible 7. The only problem he encountered lost him at least half an hour, but the title holder still holds a lead of more than 22' over Eduard Nikolaev, and 41'25'' over the Tatra driven by Martin Kolomny.

Stage 7 Rankings:

Quote of the stage: “These stupid buggies, they don't let me past. I'd been pushing them for a long time and they didn't let me past. In a fast section they passed me, but then in a bad section, they're too slow. Today was all about losing. You could lose a lot of time. It was very tricky with the stones so we had to drive carefully. But the first section was very boring, it was flat out, 130 kmph. For the first hour we did 134 kmph as an average speed. Yeah, that's nothing; it's boring.” – Gerard de Rooy (Truck)

Dakar 2013 – Stage 7 – Car/Bike Stage Summary


Stage 8: Salta – San Miguel de Tucuman

The Tucuman route was divided into two timed sections with a variety of scenery. With hoodoos, canyons and cacti, the competitors discovered the red and green backdrop of Argentina’s most beautiful natural landscape, which unfolded for more than 150 km creating a Western atmosphere. During the second half of the timed section, which took place in a region completely unknown to the Dakar, the contrast was apparent on the sandy and sometimes tricky tracks. 

Kazakhstan Bauyrzhan Issabayev-Dmitriy Yugai (#409) crew once again finished a stage in the 49th place, remaining 50th overall. 

Same was true for Aidyn Rakhimbayev-Gabdulla Ashimov (#410) crew: #71st in the stage and #69th in the general ranking.

The crew of Bauyrzhan Issabayev and Dmitriy Yugai. Photo courtesy of RaceFace Sports Media Syndicate

The crew of Bauyrzhan Issabayev and Dmitriy Yugai. Photo courtesy of RaceFace Sports Media Syndicate

The eighth stage of the Dakar was expected to be tricky and, above all, long, but the course was changed in the morning due to the torrential rain falling on the area: the first part of the special was cancelled, including the entire Truck stage, which was supposed to take place on this part of the course. The second part of the special for cars, motorcycles and quads went on as planned.

Joan Barreda won the last stage before the rest day in Tucumán, while David Casteu toppled Olivier Pain from the top of the general classification. Cyril Despres bounced back after changing his engine during this mammoth stage.

Even the amputation of the first part of the special due to torrential rain didn't blunt the edge of this stage. Navigational skills proved to be the decisive factor. Especially at kilometer point 122, where a group of wayward riders lost almost half an hour, including the 7th stage winner Kurt Caselli and overall leader Olivier Pain, whose mistake ended up costing him the lead, as well as "Chaleco" López, who also lost his second place.

At the end of the day, the list of those who benefitted from this was even longer. Chief among them was Joan Barreda, who started in the 21st place and seized the opportunity. He may no longer be within striking distance of the overall win he aimed for, but the Husqvarna rider took his third stage this year with seven minutes to spare on American Johnny Campbell, followed by surprise guests such as Ivan Jakes (third), Pedro Bianchi Prata (fourth) and Vincent Guindani (fifth).

Behind them, David Casteu managed to limit the damage enough to take over from teammate Olivier Pain at the top of the general classification. Cyril Despres will also be happy to reverse the negative trend after his terrible day at the office yesterday. The defending champion was saved by Pole Marek Dabrowski's willingness to give him his KTM's engine at the assistance-less bivouac in Cachi, enabling him to tackle today's special with a born-again motorcycle, avoid navigational mistakes and zero in on the second place overall in Tucumán, 9′26″ down on Casteu. Nevertheless, his engine change will cost him a 15-minute penalty and push him down to sixth place overall ahead of the second week of racing.

In the car category, the weather conditions made things more difficult, with torrential rains slowing the vehicles down.

As the meteorological Armageddon fell upon the last thirty kilometers of the special, the race direction decided to stop the competition and neutralize competitors at CP2, 86 km into the stage (formerly 374 km, but the course was changed in the morning) as a riverbed on the course of the special suddenly swelled with water.

Brazil's Guilherme Spinelli stuck in a flooded river. ©AFP

Brazil's Guilherme Spinelli stuck in a flooded river. ©AFP

At the time, Nasser Al-Attiyah was the fastest, 13″ ahead of Gordon but, most importantly, almost 3 minutes ahead of Stéphane Peterhansel… putting him within striking distance of the top place in the overall.

Stage 8 Rankings:

Quote of the stage: “My first big mistake since the start of the rally, I insisted on following the motorcycle tracks but it was the wrong direction. Jean-Paul pressured me to look for a way out of the riverbed, but I continued for 2.5 km before retracing my steps, which means I'd gone 5 km too far and lost almost 9 minutes, as Terranova was going by when I came out... Well, that's the way it is... Nasser will probably take advantage of this, but that's racing... Having said that, one of the riverbeds was quite full when we went by and apparently they wanted to neutralise the stage at CP2. This wouldn't be bad news for me, as it would neutralise our navigational mistake and we'd only concede the time lost head-to-head on the course... We'll see...” – Stephane Peterhansel (Car)

Dakar 2013 – Stage 8 – Car/Bike Stage Summary


Dakar 2013 – Stage 8 – Truck/Quad Stage Summary


 Rest Day: January 13

Since the Dakar has come to South America, the rest day has never been scheduled so long after the start. An Argentinian-style party was organised there, with a rock concert and the Dakar Village. Reaching Tucuman after 8 race days undoubtedly represented a first victory for many drivers and teams.

139 motorcycles, 26 quads, 106 cars and 64 trucks made it through the first eight stages to the rest day in Tucumán, representing 74.61% of the vehicles which started in Lima. David Casteu, Marcos Patronelli, Stéphane Peterhansel and Gerard de Rooy lead their respective categories.

Kazakhstan lost 2 out of its 4 crews. Withdrawal of Artur Ardavichus and his Kamaz Master truck was the greatest disappointment. Ardavichus won the third place in the last year’s Dakar on this very truck and much was expected from him this time. He was demonstrating fine results during the first three stages of the race  finishing in the 10th, 15th and 9th places.

But his next three stages were tainted by truck failures. Turbocharger malfunctionings were following him during several stages jamming the engine’s efficiency. He came 25th in the fourth stage, then recovered to the 18th place in the fifth stage. In the end the engine’s endurance failed him and Ardavichus had to withdraw from the race after the sixth stage not being able to finish it. 

The crew of Arthur Ardavichus, Aleksey Nikizhin and Nurlan Turlubayev. Photo courtesy of RaceFace Sports Media Syndicate

The crew of Arthur Ardavichus, Aleksey Nikizhin and Nurlan Turlubayev. Photo courtesy of RaceFace Sports Media Syndicate

In the motorcycle category KTM’s captain and defending champion Cyril Despres has had a tough first week, most importantly due to a gearbox problem during the marathon stage which forced him to change his engine, with the ensuing 15-minute penalty. Now a Yamaha rules the roost. The brand with the tuning forks may have won only one stage to KTM's four, but it led the race from stage 4, first with Olivier Pain and then with David Casteu.

Photo courtesy of www.dakar.com

Photo courtesy of www.dakar.com

The other nice surprise of the 2013 Dakar comes from the biggest team of them all: Husqvarna. Although they've still got reliability issues, the sheer speed of the machine and its leader Joan Barreda has been impressive. The Spaniard was the best performer of the first week together with Chaleco, with three specials apiece. There are long faces in the Honda camp, as their great official comeback to the Dakar flops. Although the Japanese brand has three motorcycles in the top 12.

Photo courtesy of www.dakar.com

Photo courtesy of www.dakar.com

In quads the first part of the competition ended as it began: with a surprise stage winner. Peru's Ignacio Flores produced a major upset by prevailing in Pisco, while South African rookie Sarel van Biljon grabbed the win in Tucumán. Apart from these two stages, 2010 champion Marcos Patronelli stamped his authority on the rally by taking half of the eight stages on offer. In the other two stages, the honours went to the Chilean duo of Ignacio Casale (fifth last year) and Sebastián Palma.

Photo courtesy of www.dakar.com

Photo courtesy of www.dakar.com

In cars legendary Stéphane Peterhansel leads the Dakar at the halfway point, but there's only a hair's breadth between him and the other competitors, especially his main rival Nasser Al-Attiyah, a mere 3′14″ back. Whether the latter will prevail over cold-blooded Peterhansel, and whether his buggy will be able to make it through the 4,000 km road to Santiago unscathed, is anyone's guess.

Photo courtesy of www.dakar.com

Photo courtesy of www.dakar.com

The gaps are bigger behind the leading duo, with Giniel de Villiers' Toyota pick-up in third place, 44′03″ back. But the South African's dark horse strategy already won him the race in 2009. Most importantly, such closeness among the next few drivers has rarely been seen before. True, the current diversity is partly due to Krzysztof Holowczyc and Carlos Sainz's premature withdrawals, but eight teams and nine different car makers are represented in the top thirteen overall.

Photo courtesy of www.dakar.com

Photo courtesy of www.dakar.com

In trucks Gerard de Rooy was driving his Iveco flat out on the sand throughout the first three stages taking the overall lead. In stage 4, however, De Rooy lost half an hour in the dunes, Hans Stacey overturned his truck and eventually withdrew, and Loprais and Kamaz came back into business.

Photo courtesy of www.dakar.com

Photo courtesy of www.dakar.com

The defending champion, whose main rival is a mere 22′ back, will have to see off the three-pronged Kamaz challenge, with Nikolaev 2nd, Mardeev 4th and Karginov 5th, as well as the Tatras with Kolomý (3rd) and Loprais (6th). With the first three chasers within less than 47′ of the leader, expect the fight to be fierce.

Photo courtesy of www.dakar.com

Photo courtesy of www.dakar.com

Inside Dakar 2013


Stage 9: San Miguel de Tucuman – Cordoba

Trucks had pride of place when the rally resumed, only competing in one of the two parts of the special stage, but they had the rare privilege of setting off first. The stage’s profile with quick tracks was favourable to specialists of torturous routes. In the other categories, as the distance was doubled, it also allowed for an additional, much more technical section, where, in particular, the drivers negotiated the bends in the forest. They had to watch out for trees, given that the rapid assistance trucks did’t have access to the route. The competitors had to be extremely vigilant over the entire distance, which was, for all except for the bikers, the rally’s longest special stage.

Both Kazakhstan crews of Bauyrzhan Issabayev-Dmitriy Yugai (#409) and Aidyn Rakhimbayev-Gabdulla Ashimov (#410) started the route confidently and steadily. But after driving the first 100km, Issabayev’s offroader had technical problems that halted its progress.

“The two Toyota Desert Warriors driven by Kazakhs Aidyn Rakhimbayev and Bauyrzhan Issabayev (race nos. 409 and 410) are both at a standstill at km 117. Issabayev's been struck by a mechanical and his teammate has stopped to help him repair it,” the Dakar official website wrote.

Both Kazakhstan crews managed to continue the race. Issabayev’s offroader kept experiencing technicals along the route but managed to finish the stage in the 93rd next-to-the-last place and dropping 4 lines down to the 54th place in the overall.

The second crew, however, didn’t: “As soon as Issabayev’s crew arrived at the bivouac, a short meeting was held and the assistance car with mechanics and navigators left for Rakhimbayev. We are expecting them by 6 in the morning,” the team’s press-service wrote. However it turned out impossible to revive the vehicle and it withdrew from the 10th stage failing to start it.

 The crew of Aidyn Rakhimbayev and Gabdulla Ashimov. Photo courtesy of RaceFace Sports Media Syndicate

The crew of Aidyn Rakhimbayev and Gabdulla Ashimov. Photo courtesy of RaceFace Sports Media Syndicate

French motorcycler Cyril Despres took his first stage win in the 2013 Dakar and climbed to second overall, 5′23″ down, as the defending champion benefitted from his main rivals' bad day at the office. In the car category Mini's Nani Roma taking his second win in 2013 and Stéphane Peterhansel opening up a gulf between him and his rivals thanks to Al-Attiyah's misadventures. Finally, the stage saw Eduard Nikolaev take control of the truck category after Gerard de Rooy's dreadful day.

Cyril Despres delivered a virtuoso performance throughout the ninth stage, one which was raced on fast trails which put tires and brakes to the test. It was the Frenchman’s 31st career win in the Dakar by 4′03″ over his closest rival, Joan Barreda. Husqvarna's Spaniard was the only rider who came close to challenging the Frenchman and finished second, 1′11″ ahead of teammate Botturi.

The overall leader in Tucumán, David Casteu, crashed into a cow when tackling a turn 120 km into the special! This left the rider from Nice with a dislocated right shoulder and a damaged motorcycle, a situation which became a full-blown nightmare when a mechanical 15 km from the finish line cost him several hours. Casteu made it to the end of the special on foot, but this is the end of the road for him. The second-in-command of the Bleus also hit the deck several times, losing about 32′ and slipping to sixth overall. The least unlucky of them all was Chaleco López, who also fell but "only" lost 16 minutes to Despres.

The stage was less eventful in the quad category, where Marcos Patronelli managed his lead and finished 1′05″ down on stage winner Lukasz Laskawiec, who grabbed his second career win at the Dakar while Patronelli extended his overall lead to 1 h 32′ over Casale and 2 h 08′ over Sonik.

As for the cars, Giniel de Villiers posted the best time in the first part of the special and for most of the stage seemed poised to take Toyota's 1st stage win in 2013, but it was not to be, as the strain inflicted by today's course on the car took its toll and forced him to slow down towards the end. The South African ended up 9′39″ off the pace of today's winner Nani Roma. The Catalan at the wheel of the Mini was once again lethal on this fast terrain, taking his 13th career win by 4′11″ over Stéphane Peterhansel and 6′54″ over local lad Orlando Terranova.

Nonetheless, the day's highlight was Nasser Al-Attiyah's technical problems. He had to stop several times throughout the special after a driving mistake brought him a little too close to a tree, according to competitors who drove past him. The ever-consistent "Peter" extended his lead to 49′31″ on De Villiers and 56′03″ on teammate Leonid Novitskiy.

In truck De Rooy struggles while Nikolaev storms to the lead. Trucks had their very own special for once, but overall leader Gerard de Rooy was unable to exploit the free road in front of him in the 293-kilometre ninth stage due to a series of mechanical problems that started from km 10 of the special section. He managed to fix the problem and was up and running when 76 km to the finish line his turbo broke down after a few kilometers, then his steering failed and then he had a flat! In the end, the overall leader in Tucumán lost over 1 h 25′ to Aleš Loprais, who claimed his fifth career win (his first one this year) and beat Peter Versluis' MAN by a mere seven seconds.

But today's big winner was without a shadow of a doubt the leader of Team Kamaz, Eduard Nikolaev, who finished sixth at 3′34″ and benefitted from the Dutch disaster to take the reins of the general classification, 17′56″ ahead of Czech Martin Kolomý's Tatra and 33′32″ ahead of teammate Andrey Karginov. Gerard De Rooy now sits fourth, 59′56″ behind the Russian leader.

 Stage 9 Rankings:

Quote of the stage: “Our turbo blew up and, because we didn't have the piece we needed to repair it, we had to wait for the assistance truck. We lost at least 45 min and then we went on the attack again, but we had a steering problem and had to stop once more. Then we had a puncture which sent us off-course, but fortunately Jan Lammers was there to tow us back on... In short, a hellish day! And we lost at least 1 h 30, we'll see... I don't know how the rest of the race is going to pan out, of course, we'll continue to attack, but it's going to be very difficult from now on...” – Gerard de Rooy (Truck)

Dakar 2013 – Stage 9 – Car/Bike Stage Summary


Dakar 2013 – Stage 9 – Truck/Quad Stage Summary



Bike 36 – When Laia rejected Barreda

It's not that Laia Sanz does not like helicopters, but, the Lord only knows why, each time one of them flies past the Catalan rider, there is a strong chance that she is in difficulty, even if only temporarily. At the bivouac in Calama, she explained this with a smile, on completing a day which had been largely positive (32nd on the stage), except around the 60-km point on the special stage. “I got my back wheel stuck in the sand. It shouldn't have been much of a problem, but at that moment, Joan (Barreda) rode past and offered to help me. I beckoned ‘no thanks' to him, though”. Laia is still laughing about it: “He's one of the top riders! He should have been getting on with his race!” That said, the 32nd placed rider in the general standings had to sort herself out. “I was able to get going again very soon. It wasn't a big problem!”

Laia Sanz. Photo courtesy of www.dakar.com

Laia Sanz. Photo courtesy of www.dakar.com

Car 328 – Fortune favoring the brave

The duo functions perfectly: Pascal Thomasse and Pascal Larroque, the crew of Team MD Rallye's leading Optimus, reached Salta in 11th place in the general standings, respecting, even with a touch of zeal, the plan they drew up at the start of the race. Is this a sign of exemplary consistency and perfect mechanical management of their machine since the start in Lima? Not exactly, as even the driver admits, delighted that fortune appears to be smiling on him this year: “We've had just as much luck as bad luck. On the first day, the engine overheated, but we managed to finish anyway. On day 3, we rolled the car over forwards spectacularly, but we landed on our wheels and just carried on. Pascal just said to me, ‘carry on straight ahead'!” This run of good luck did not stop there for this particularly successful duo. “Yesterday, we broke on of the suspensions 27 km from the finishing line. If that had happened 50 km earlier, it would have been all over for us. Instead, Pascal, who is a brilliant mechanic, carried out emergency repairs in 12 minutes. We managed to finish, admittedly at only 60 kmph, but we're still here!”

Pascal Thomasse. Photo courtesy of www.dakar.com

Pascal Thomasse. Photo courtesy of www.dakar.com

A service in Tucuman

A religious service conducted amid roaring engines under the tent of Piotr Beaupré's team, right in the middle of the Tucumán bivouac: it's not something you see every day at the Dakar! And, nevertheless, "it's not illogical at all for us Poles, a traditionally very devout Catholic people, to attend Sunday mass, even if we're racing in the Dakar, where we practise a risky sport and it's always good to have the Lord keep an eye on you. Moreover, there's a strong spiritual element to this race, because we practise fair play, mutual aid and solidarity on a daily basis, and these values are shared by the Church", explains his quad driver and fellow countryman Rafal Sonik, who organised the project together with Piotr Beaupré. "Three weeks before the start, it was Rafal who had the idea to ask one of our priest friends, who lives in Buenos Aires, to come and conduct mass here during the rest day", adds the man at the wheel of car no. 363. "We invited all the Poles in the rally and they all came to recreate a bit of Poland here in the bivouac." "I've known all the Poles in the world of rally raids ever since the first edition in 2009, when they all came to pray in my church before and after the race", explains Father Olaf Kasimir Bochnak. "As for the fact that we're in the middle of the bivouac, I'll just say that the Church is a gathering of believers who pray together, not just a building. Finally, I follow the race too, you know, and I know what's going on. When a French rider died two days ago, I prayed for him and all the competitors, and we all did the same thing together this morning. Even if the Lord is always with them, they often need spiritual guidance. Almost all of them came to thank me this morning!"

Father Olaf Kasimir Bochnak performing a Sunday mass in bivouac. Photo courtesy of www.dakar.com

Father Olaf Kasimir Bochnak performing a Sunday mass in bivouac. Photo courtesy of www.dakar.com

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