Lavieille/Garcin and Monleon win prologue Taklimakan 2018

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After the opening ceremony which officially launched the 2018 Taklimakan Rally, 106 vehicles competed in a prologue designed around Ürümqi. Christian Lavieille / Jean-Pierre Garcin in cars, and Armand Monleón in motorbike category, win this short timed portion. They will consequently open the route tomorrow during the stage 1.

The prologue of 2018 Taklimakan Rally, 16,02 kilometers long, did not contain any significant difficulties. This first time section was a perfect way to make a first test for the 90 cars/trucks and 16 motorbikes/ATVs which enter the rally. On very dusty and windy tracks, this prologue was mainly an opportunity for competitors to adapt themselves quickly to their vehicles, and revive their competitive spirit. 

Christian Lavieille and Jean-Pierre Garcin win the prologue, and will have the hard task to open the route during stage 1. The french crew, 2017 Taklimakan Rally winner, starts the 2018 edition in the best possible way on board of his BAIC BJ40 colored in blue, white and red. The two Toyota Hilux of Longxing team, led by Wang Hai/Chen  Qiongkai and Chen Feng/Wang Yicheng, complete the podium. 

The title holder also won the prologue in motorbike category. Armand Monleón on his KTM was the fastest in front of the argentinian Pablo Pascual and the chinese Zhang Min. The fight will be intense during 2018 Taklimakan Rally between the teams Daming KKTMR2R Rally and Zhongshen. The two teams monopolize the four first ranks of the day.

Tomorrow, on Sunday June 3rd, 2018 Taklimakan Rally leaves Ürümqi and head North towards Shanshan. This first stage of 462,25 kilometers long, including 214,4 kilometers in selective section, will already be a major test. 


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Live from the ÜRÜMQI bivouac (XINJIANG / CHINA)

Cars

Christian Lavieille (FRA/BAIC) 1st in prologue / 1st in overall
,,Everything was fine today. We had a good feeling with the cars. We did not take any risk because the prologue was tricky due to many holes on the track. Our goal was to manage our pace to not open the route tomorrow. We finally win the prologue. We are a bit surprised of our ranking.''

Han Wei (CHN/Geely) 12th in prologue / 12th in overall
,,We did not have any particular problem today. We tried to preserve the cars. Our buggy works very well! Taklimakan Rally is a long and difficult rally.''

Rémy Vauthier (CH/Optimus) 23rd in prologue / 23rd in overall
,,The prologue did not contain any particular difficulties. We are lucky because we realized that our shock absorbers have a manufacturing defect.  We will change it by tomorrow and replace it by new ones coming from France. The rally did not start yet. This race is very long.''

Bikes

Armand Monleón (ESP/KTM) 1st in prologue / 1st in overall
,,I did not take any risk today, it was the prologue only! I’m very glad to be back at the start line of a cross-country rally. It was good to sense again the competitive spirit. The Taklimakan Rally really starts only tomorrow.''

Eric Schiano (FRA/Zongshen) 4th in prologue / 4th in overall

,,I was attracted since a long time by Taklimakan Rally. I have the opportunity to represent Zongshen, a young brand in cross-country rally. I have a 25 years experience in cross-country rally, and I hope my experience can be benefit for the team. The prologue was very interesting to check our setup on the motorbikes. The road-book is accurate.''

 Prologue classification (cars)  / overall classification

1. Christian Lavieille (FRA) / Jean-Pierre Garcin (FRA), BAIC, 10’33’’6
2. Wang Hai (CHN) / Chen  Qiongkai (CHN), Toyota, + 7’’9
3. Chen Feng (CHN) / Wang Yicheng (CHN), Toyota, + 21’’
4. Niu Banding (CHN) / Fang Mingji (CHN), SMG, + 23’’5
5. Liu Yangui (CHN) / Pan Hongyu (CHN), BAIC, + 30’’9

Prologue classification (motorbikes)  / overall classification

1. Armand Monleón (ESP), KTM, 13’41’’5
2. Pablo Pascual (ARG), Zongshen, + 5’’6
3. Zhang Min (CHN), KTM, + 22’1
4. Eric Schiano (FRA), Zongshen, + 32’’8
5. Zhaker Yakefu (CHN), KTM, + 38’’5