Kazakhstani crew enters top-10 at Dakar12 january 2015, 20:49
Astana Motorsports driver Aydin Rakhimbaev and navigator Anton Nikolaev, racing under number 329, have made it to the tenth place in the overall standing at Dakar, Tengrinews reports.
The fifth stage of the rally-marathon Dakar took the riders from Copiapo to Antofagasta, a stage almost 700 kilometers long.
The Kazakh crew racing a MINI under number 329 managed to pass the very complicated fifth stage in the Atacama Desert successfully. It was a very rare kind of race, where all of the categories competed on the same track. The first segment made it possible to reach a good speed and overtake opponents in the general classification. But not everyone managed to pass the next segment, a special section.
"Well, here's the exclusive, boys,” Astana Motorsports pilot Aydin Rakhimbayev commented. “The last 200 kilometers we competed with Carlos Sainz (a famous Spanish racer, winner of Dakar-2010). We were unlucky and damaged our wheel and fell behind. After three kilometers we saw the following picture: Sainz’s Peugeot was completely smashed. He got out of the car, we stopped. He took off his helmet and sat down ... and started to cry. This was 15 kilometers from the finish. Tragic. His navigator showed that everything was in order, their speed was great. But then they swooped down on some rocks and overturned several times.
"Our brakes also started to fail closer to the finish. Apparently, we damaged a brake hose. The last 50 kilometers were covered with big stones, we had two flats."
The crew finished the stage in the 15th place and got the 10th place in the general classification.
It was less than two hours after another Kazakhstani crew crossed the finish line.
"It was very dusty and very dangerous, fesh-fesh everywhere,” the pilot Bauyrzhan Isabaev recalls. “We punctured two wheels, both caught fire. I had to use a fire extinguisher, then we covered them with sand and left. Speeds are high, winds constantly change direction. Even when there are no cars in front, the wind splashes dust at the windshield as if it was a tail from another racer. And with all these, there are huge boulders along the track. It is hard and it’s good that we had no losses."
The Kazakhstani crew number 340 took the 21th place in the general standings and finished the stage in the 28th place.
The third crew from Kazakhstan racing the Dakar - a Tatra truck driven by Arthur Ardavichus - reached the finish line only after sunset. The cause was found out later.
Ardavichus said: "The first crew driving by any accident is obliged to stop and render aid. We lost 48 minutes to help a biker. He turned out to be Colombian Mateo Moreno Christiansen racing under number 168 on KTM motorcycle for team Freedom 64 Rally. He fell in a rut right in front of our eyes after hitting a stone. He flew head over heels. The scene was terrible. We stopped, got in touch with the organizers. We went to him, tried to move him, but he was hurt. We called a helicopter. We were asked to wait with him until the helicopter arrived. The time was returned to us, but we had to drive in the dark at a minimum speed. But life is more important."
The crew of Arthur Ardavichus, the bronze medalist of Dakar 2012, navigator Alexei Nikizhev and mechanic Daniel Kozlowsky finished the stage in the 29th place. They now occupy the 19th place in the general classification.
By Dinara Urazova