Sardegna Rally Race: Epic end of an epic rally raid

b_600_0_16777215_00_images_12-NIEUWS_Sardinie_2017_Sardegna2017_podium.jpg

Botturi cruises to his second bikes victory in Sardinia as Sebastien Souday claims the quads title. Eric De Seynes, partnered by Camelia Liparoti, tops the SSV category.

Stage 5 - San Teodoro - San Teodoro | Total km 223 - PS1 144,01

The 10th edition of Goldentyre Sardegna Rally Race started in San Teodoro, the base of Bike Village, the rally organizers, on June 10. The high tension Prologue decided the starting order for the 5-days challenge across the stunning island, hidden and most remote places included. Visiting the Sardegna Rally Race and being himself a rally driver, the president of FMI Giovanni Copioli, said: "I am sure that Sardinia is the place to be, to train and to compete for every rally racer in the world - the terrain here is so varied and incredibly tough. Even if this year the rally doesn't count for the World Cup, the level of racing here is for sure of a global scale."

Riders and drivers of the 10th edition put on their helmets in Budoni, switching their engines and heads into the race mode. In five days of super sunny weather the tricky dust clouds joined the party, but this is Sardinia: dry, wild and unpredictable. Speaking of unpredictability, young and talented Jacopo Cerutti, surged into an early lead on a day 1 and stayed firmly on the top of classification till the day 3, when he hurt his hand and was forced to retire. Speaking also about the funny side of unpredictability, the yesterday's stage winner Maurizio Gerini, on course for his first stage win found himself trapped in a private property. After some diplomacy efforts Gerini managed to continue the race and at the end won the stage over the experienced Alessandro Botturi and Spaniard Oriol Mena Valdearcos.

rally's reputation as one of the toughest in terms of navigation, slippery terrain and dust. Alessandro Botturi, a 42 years- old from Brescia, started the first special of the day with comfortable 10 minutes of advantage and won the rally with a big smile - this is his playground as he had already won the Sardegna Rally Race in 2014. "Bottu" produced a great ride without mistakes and claimed the crown, winning the rally with a margin of 6 minutes and 39 seconds over Oriol Mena Valdearcos and Andrea Mancini, who reached the finish line 28 minutes and 20 seconds after the winner.

Reaching the central "piazza" in San Teodoro, Botturi said: "I started with quite an advantage, but rally isn't over till it's over. I pushed hard and here we are! With Oriol Mena we rode together for most of the time, so the race was also fun! Anyway, I am very sorry for Jacopo Cerutti, he was faster then me. The race would have been a lot harder if Jacopo didn't hurt his hand. But he is still young and will have many more opportunities to win."

The second overall and the winner of today's stage Oriol Mena Valdearcos said: "This race was only the second rally of my carrier! But I will for sure come back and try to win it. It was one of the most enjoyable weeks in my life; I had fun in the track and outside the track."

The challenge to compete against the top world riders brought the best out of the Italian TT Raid competitors. The race in the race was won by Alessandro Botturi, over Andrea Mancini and Mirko Pavan. Luigi Martelozzo, Alessandro Cavicchi and Roberto Barbieri filled the remaining six places.

Sebastien Souday was fastest of the legion of quads and reached the finish with a margin of 3h and 43 minutes over the Polish off-road legend Rafal Sonik, which had a minor accident in the last stage but he still managed to finish the race, and Sonik's fellow countryman Kamil Wisniewski.

The king and the queen of the SSV category became Eric De Seynes and Camelia Liparoti, a fearless lady quad rider and multiple Dakar contestant. Enrico Ercolani and his co-driver Paolo Politino were fast, but not fast enough and will be rewarded with a silver medal.

When asked about his opinion about the 10th edition of the rally, Antonio Assirelli, the president of the jury, commented: "Many things have changed in this time, but only for us, working in the back stage. For pilots, the Sardegna Rally Race has always been the same. The same adventure. The same fatigue. The spirit of this race hasn't changed a bit."

FINAL RESULTS GOLDENTYRE SARDEGNA RALLY RACE: 

1. Alessandro Botturi (ITA) Yamaha 11h53.18
2. Oriol Mena (SPA) Honda 11h.59.58
3. Andrea Mancini (ITA) Beta 12h21.39
4. Mirko Pavan (ITA) Beta 12h29.46
5. Cristian Espana Munoz (SPA) KTM 12h41.55
6. Luigi Martelozzo (ITA) Husqvarna 12h53.13
7. Alessandro Cavicchi (ITA) Husqvarna 13h02.01
8. Txomin Arana (SPA) Yamaha 13h10.26
9. Roberto Barbieri (ITA) Husqvarna 13h23.41
10. Omar Chiatti (ITA) Yamaha 13h32.17