Difficulties of Stage 2 Send Ales Loprais to 3rd Overall


The drama of the second grueling stage of the Silk Way Rally brings more changes and turnovers than last year's edition itself. Even after troubles, Ales Loprais moves to 3rd overall.

There hasn't been a stage like this at Silk Way Rally! A weird mixture of the remaining Russian agricultural suburban and soil paths together with the upcoming sandy surface close to the Volga river on 483 kilometers of day's special created a too difficult piece to swallow for many. Moreover, the difficulties are expected to further grow. Only the leading trio stayed consistent from the start, otherwise there are many changes in the overall general classification.

Ales Loprais started the special 6th and stayed close to the best, within a tiny distance. Then, first technical trouble occurred, a disconnected intake pipe meant the first delay. Even later on, back luck went in Ales' footmarks. After a puncture, there has been a separated tire and atop of that, the tire got stripped from the rim in a deep sand. As a result, a 30-minute delay was accumulated and Ales was 8th at CP3. Then he decided to catch up and managed to jump on 4th in the stage and 3rd overall. "Today was tough in every aspect. It was a difficult surface mixture and we had to stop for repairs, which kept us back. From that point of view, we scored quite a satisfactory result. We keep battling, the truck is fast enough and nothing is for sure here, as you can see. However, the Russians and Stacey hold their cards really high," the InstaForex Loprais Team pilot added.

In the meanwhile, things were going on. The rising star of the Kamaz team and the leading driver at the beginning of the day, Eduard Nikolaev, had to withdraw after technical problems. Father and son Mardeevs stayed with him for repairs and lost more than two hours, off the battle for top 10. It was Ardavichus after an excellent drive to hold the Kazakh flag high but at the end bad luck for Astana, just like at Tour de France, caused him to gain more than two hours. Even Franz Echter caught up at the beginning but lost a lot of time later. On the other hand, Petr Versluis was very consistent again and the grand return of the day was performed by Hans Stacey. The pilot of Team de Rooy spend the whole day at a chase for a stage win, which was eventually taken by the experienced Kabirov. Quite surprisingly, the young Karginov is catching up with him. The well deserved visit to top 10 is paid by Johan Elfrink, whereas Behringer, after a promising start, was delayed with towing Matthias Kahle's buggy to the finish. After a bad luck at Stage 1, both Liaz trucks of the Czech KM Racing are proving their speed. There were too many events for one stage and they are a good promise for the coming stages.

The events with the Bonver Dakar Team crew are on par with the crazy scenario of the whole race. Tomas Vratny lost over three hours today after mechanical problems." After a puncture, we damaged the brake cylinder, which kept us back and we had to repair it. Also we lost power in the gearshift, which caused another precious time. Plus, the stage was really difficult. My mechanics and crew-mates did not get a sleep last night and they may not have one this night, either. But we keep going, that's the main thing," Tomas Vratny said.

Another stage, already on a sandy surface, will take all competitors to Astrakhan at the Kaspic Lake after a difficult 432-kilometer special.

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