Turkmenbashi, Turkmenistan, September 10th 2009
Carlos Sainz won today his second SS on the Silk Way Rally but didn’t managed to do much better than Nasser Al Attiyah, who is still leading overall. Vladimir Chagin pulled out the victory on the stage, but it doesn’t influence the overall standing.
Carlos Sainz keeps looking for a weak point in his main competitor but has not found it yet. The two times WRC champion wins the stage by 3’13 but was leading much more at CP2 when Al Attiyah decided it was time to step on it and not let the Spanish go. He passed Sainz then and went ahead. Tomorrow there will be 360 km of SS to Balkanabad and 345 km on Saturday for Sainz to try to overtake Al Attiyah.
As long as current events run unpredictable, nobody can say who will get the 5th place. Yesterday, Christian Lavieille had to set back because of his broken transmission. Later in the evening he was told he could start the 6th stage with a big penalty that made him one before last on the overall ranking. Today, Matthias Kahle overturned on his car and took 3 hours to repair. He is out of the 5th spot race. For a long time, Bernard Errandonea was the favorite among “non VW”, but his buggy couldn’t bear it: on km 317 of the special his cardan broke. So we end up with two Russians crews for the spot – Aleksey Bercut and Ruslan Misikov. Bercut’s Mitsubishi started today 12 min earlier than Misikov, but soon got stuck in the dunes. So now, Nart Time’s pilot is the favourite for the “unlucky” 5th spot !
In the trucks race, after a horrible day yesterday where he lost 3 hours and his chances at the final victory, KAMAZ-master Vladimir Chagin showed fearless driving again. The King got the best time on the SS, winning 27 minutes before Firdaus Kabirov, but it doesn’t change anything at the overall standing. Kabirov takes the second place of the stage and conforts his lead with 8 more minutes to Gerard De Rooy. A second Kamaz might jump on the podium at the end of the week with Ilgizar Mardeev who came back so strongly on Loprais today that he is now 1 minute ahead at the 3rd place.