Taklimakan Stage 2: First victory for Han Wei and Shi Yong
In the extreme heat of the Xinjiang province, the crew Han Wei/Liao Min won its first victory in 2018 Taklimakan Rally. The Geely Auto Coopertires team let the first place of the overall classification to its rival BAIC. Shi Yong took advantage of the bad fortune of the other riders to win the stage in motorbikes category.
STAGE 2 : SHANSHAN > SHANSHAN : 390,74 km | Liaison : 52,93 km | SS : 297,75 km | Liaison : 40,06 km
With some fast tracks, an oued and many dunes crossing, this second stage of 2018 Taklimakan Rally, designed around Shanshan, offered to competitors a varied route. The high temperatures, approaching 50°C on the tracks, made the stage even a bit harder.
The driver-manufacturer Han Wei offers a second win in a row to his team Geely Auto Coopertires, his first personal victory. The yellow buggies claim a one-two finish thanks to Liu Kun/Wu Dajun, but let the lead of the overall classification to the BAIC of Liu Yangui/Pan Hongyu. Christian Lavieille/Jean-Pierre Garcin aimed to put things right after the first stage they finished below their expectations. The French duo finishes fourth, just behind their BAIC teamates Binglong Lu/He Sha.
In the motorbike category, Shi Yong on his KTM won the second stage after an uniformly perfect day. Armand Monleón encountered problems with the functioning of his GPS. But, thanks to his teamate Zhaker Yakefu, the Spanish rider achieved to reach the finish line without losing much time. The French Eric Schiano finished eighth. His performance is encouraging after his crash during stage 1.
Tomorrow, on tuesday June 5th, the service teams will stay in Shanshan bivouac while the racing vehicles will take part into a second loop of 426,8 kilometers long. Navigation will be the key factor to make a good performance during the stage 3 of 2018 Taklimakan Rally.
Live from Shanshan biviouac (Xinjiang / China)
Han Wei (CHN/Geely) | 1st in stage 2 / 3rd in overall
"Today's stage was pretty difficult but we managed to handle it. Everything went well! I started the sixth and was the fourth to reach the finish. Our pace was very good. It is our first victory in 2018 Taklimakan Rally. I’m really confident for the next stages."
Binglong Lu (CHN/BAIC) | 3rd in stage 2 / 4th in overall
,,The BJ40 had no big problem today. The sound of the radio was just constantly a bit too loud. There are still many desert portions coming soon. BAIC team is now playing team strategy. So far so good!''
Christian Lavieille (FRA/BAIC) | 3rd in stage 2 / 6th in overall
''We started 11th and were very quickly in the dust of the other cars. It was very hard to overtake with a strong headwind. Our mechanics have changed our shock absorbers which are now more appropriate for fast tracks like we had today. The team has worked during the whole night and we did not want to bring back a damaged car for the second day in a row. Our goal was to finish the stage in the right place, it's done!''
Rémy Vauthier (CH/Optimus) | 16th in stage 2 / 13th in overall
,,Like yesterday, the scenery was amazing with very beautiful dunes without grass or stone. Chinese drivers are very good. This desert is their playground. Our engine stopped in the sixth gear 5 kilometers after the DSS. Big fright! We made some tests. Luckily, the engine restarted again and we finished the stage without any problem. We lost two or three ranks due to this misadventure.''
Armand Monleón | 2nd in stage 2 / 2nd in overall
,,I had a problem with the power supply of my GPS. In the first part, I did my best to keep a right pace while triying to no to make navigation mistake. Then I sticked to my teamate to be sure to follow the right path. In these conditions, my goal was only to reach the finish line. 2018 Taklimakan Rally has seven stages left. Everything can happen.''
Eric Schiano (FRA/Zongshen) | 8th in stage 2 / 6th in overall
,,Things did not work as I hoped. I had to turn around few kilometers after the DSS to replace my safety device. I had appealed to the organization to count down the time I spent to fix it. The crossing of the dunes was very beautiful. I decided to ride slowly because the racing cars overtook me. My small crash yesterday did not affect my shape. My shoulder is fine!''