Turkmen Desert Race 2018
Submitted on Fri, 09/14/2018 - 19:01



Before the last day of « Amul-Hazar 2018 », the competitors have been eating the dust ! Leaving from the largest Lake of the country this morning, they crossed fesh-fesh and sandy tracks making hard to see anything, especially for those who followed a truck. A stage that went well for Hunt while Nani handled his 1st place overall.


After a long evening and some late arrival at the bivouac, today was supposed to be easier for all the participants. Some assistance were lucky enough to not do any mechanics by night so they could leave very early this morning in order to cross again 150 km sandy tracks that were pretty complicated for many yesterday. For the competitors, the day began with 49 km leg to join the start. A 245 km stage, with fast tracks close to Uzbekistan. The race director Rene Metge putted a tricky navigation with some tracks they shouldn’t miss in order not to get lost in the canyons. Some deep ruts added some difficulties for the SSV category. But the menu was mainly hard because of the dust that made impossible to see anything for the competitors behind. Therefore, it was important to be patient and careful in order to pass the cars with a wind that could make things harder.


Despite a complicated day yesterday where he had to give up the stage, British Harry Hunt were relieved to see his Peugeot arriving in the sweep car at 7 am as he was getting out of his tent. With a start from the bivouac at 8:45 am for the team, timing went well for the mechanics. They needed 1h30 to change the gearbox that was broken exactly the same way it happened in the Silkway rally this year. The car was able to leave right on time, ready to roll for this stage.

They took the start 11th and ate a lot of dust to pass as many vehicles as they could, some trucks as well. One puncture toward the end made them loose some time, it could have been a perfect day for the winners in 2 hours 15 minutes and 10 secondes.

They finished 2 minutes and 22 secondes before Nani Roma who wasn’t troubled with the dust as he took the start 1st. He didn’t take any risk in order to keep his leadership until the end. He is now 1 hour and 4 minutes before the second at the overall ranking, Czech Miroslav Zapletal (Hummer) and 1 hour and 10 minutes before the Russian truck of Airat Mardeev (Kamaz).

3rd place today is the truck of Siarhei Viazovich (BUL - Maz) who crossed the finish line 4 minutes after Hunt.

Mixed peelings for Mathieu Serradori (FRA) and Fabian Lurquin (BEL) who thought they went faster with their MCM buggy. They left 12th and finished 4th but hoped for a better result. The dust coming from the trucks made them brake way too much and they lost a lot of time trying to pass one.

1st in SSV category : Hervé Diers et Alain Brousse (FRA) Can-Am.

In the T2 category, Kazakhs Kirill Chernenkov and Alexey Mun (Nissan) were the fastest today.

The final podium seems to be close to what it will look like tomorrow, until then, every competitors know that they have to stay focused and spent their last night in the bivouac enjoying the great Turkmen welcome once again.


Harry HUNT (GBR - PEUGEOT) : « It was really good even if we had a puncture toward the end of the stage.We started 11th and we had a lot of vehicles to pass but we had fun. There were a lot of dust with the trucks though… The navigation was not too easy but Wouter did a very good job, it was almost a perfect day »

Nani ROMA (ESP - MINI) : « It was quite fast today, a good stage, not too many difficulties. Landscapes were beautiful and we are happy we made it easily threw the sand. We had to be very careful with the navigation because it was easy to be on the wrong track. Now we have one last day to do the job, we must stay focused. »

Mathieu SERRADORI (FRA - MCM) : « We left 12th and finished 4th ... it was hell because of trucks and dust! We started very hard and then we had to slow down and use the brakes to get out of the smoke of the trucks, it was dangerous to overtake them, that's what wastes us time. We would have liked to do better today to enjoy this day without mechanical problems! "

Submitted on Fri, 09/14/2018 - 19:01