AMUL - IKIUZAK PLAIN: 308 KM
The race is on! It was with a prologue of 9 km that the official start of the race was launched this morning. A first day of competition divided into two parts with a first small timed loop before the start of the first stage of the rally, all under a very strong morning sun to enter the desert.
It was from Turkmenabat where the administrative and technical verifications took place that the prologue was launched. 2 km from Lebap Market where the parc fermé opened at 6:30 am, all competitors gathered to let the President of the Republic of Turkmen start to take the first departure and officially launch the 1st edition of the Turkmen Desert Race.
Before Jean-Louis Schlesser’s eyes who was waiting for him at the finish line, this motorsports fan completed the prologue in a few minutes before being congratulated by the organizer. A luxury opener who was able to have fun before letting the competitors trying to get the best timing. Because it was the timing of the prologue that determined the starting order of the 1st stage, a ranking important for the fastest seeking for victory.
ROMA DOING WELL IN THE COMPETITION
Trucks, buggies, 4x4, SSV ... They were all able to take part in the first stage of the 1st edition of the Turkmen Desert Race. 75 vehicles launched in the morning with a very hot and sandy entry! 247 kilometers which required a careful navigation and a good concentration for the co-pilots. Because it is in the middle of the Karakum desert that the race director René Metge sent them to start the rally. A first step that has already given a lot of work to the sweep trucks that had to deal with breakdowns and other mechanical problems on the competitors who have suffered a lot with the heat. The soft sand has caused some problems of punctures and over-consumption requiring some to slow down. And the victory of the day goes to the experience since it was Nani Roma and Alex Haro (ESP - MINI) who were the fastest. The Catalan crew escaped with a simple slow puncture to perform the best timing with less than 3 hours of race. 2nd, it is the President's Mini in the prologue that achieves a good performance, but this time driving by the Turkmen Hojaguly Annamammedow. Behind, it is the British Harry Hunt (PEUGEOT) and his new Dutch team-mate Wouter Rosegaar who take the 3rd place despite some tire concerns. The 1st French of the day is 4th, Mathieu Serradori (LCR 30) and Fabian Lurquin (BEL) ended 16 minutes behind the leader.
The first truck is a KAMAZ, it is the one of Dmitry SOTNIKOV (RUS) and his team. In the SSV category, it's Thierry Pitavy and Gilles Colombet (CAN-AM) who were the fastest even slowing down during the special, scared to run out of gaz ...
This first day ended at the Ikiuzak bivouac, where Turkmen riders led the guard on the edge of the dune while the caravan could enjoy a local show with traditional singers and dancers.
Nani ROMA (ESP) - MINI: "It's always difficult to begin a new rally. The prologue was really nice, we had fun, then the first stage was very soft at first. You have to be careful in the first stage and take the time to enter the race. It went well, I started 2nd and I passed Miroslav Zapletal (HUMMER). I just had a slow puncture but nothing serious. The navigation was good, it's a new country that we discover and this first day was really beautiful. "
Harry HUNT (ENG) - PEUGEOT: "We had a very complicated start ... Even if everything started well with the prologue. We left 3rd but we quickly stopped in the first kilometers. We changed a wheel in some soft sand and then got stuck which made us waste time again. And then we left with a slow puncture ... it really was a difficult start, but for the rest it went pretty well. We got along very well with my new co-driver while it's our first race together. "
Mathieu SERRADORI (FRA) - LCR 30: "After the prologue, we decided to speed up as we left in 4th position, but we quickly realized that we were consuming far too much fuel. So we decided to lift the foot after 50 kilometers to avoid breaking down. So we lost time on Roma, it's a shame but the rally is just beginning and 5 days is long. Fabian has done a very good navigation, it allows us to make a great first leg and we are happy to have arrived safely because it was not obvious just like René Metge warned us. "