Despres and Van den Brink win Almaty - Bortala sprint
Peugeot’s Cyril Despres and David Castera bid adieu to Kazakhstan with best time of the day, while Martin Van Den Brink triumphed in the truck category on the 76.86km sprint before crossing into China.
Despres extends overall lead
After the Almaty rest day, The Silk Way Rally returned to action with a short, but nonetheless, not to be overlooked timed sector run in the high-mountain plains between 2,000 and 2,600 metres above sea level. Cyril Despres, in his Peugeot DKR 2008, beat second in the general classification, Sébastien Loeb by 02’46” to extend his overall lead to 10’46”.
Vladimir Vasilyev in a MINI ALL4 Racing maintained his potential podium result with third best time at 04’10”. England’s Harry Hunt moved into the Top 10 overall with fourth best time in another of the Tobias Quandt run cars. China’s Miao Ma rounded out to top five in a Nissan powered SCORE buggy.
After the timed sector the Silk Way Rally caravan set off on the 419.2km liaison to the east and the north to the border crossing and on to the Bortala bivouac. For the non-speaking Chinese competitors they had plenty of time to sharpen up their linguistic skills to say “Ni hao zhongguo” to their hosts for the second week of the Silk Way Rally and the July 24 finish in Beijing.
Van Den Brink wins… Nikolaev loses lead
Martin Van Den Brink took another stage win in his Renault Sherpa to take command of the truck category, while previous leader, Edouard Nikolaev lost more than one hour with an oil link following contact with a rock, to plummet down the general classification to 7th place at 55’36”. Anton Shibalov was second best on the stage at 07’ to Van Den Brink and now trails the Dutchman by 06’35”. Third and fourth place went to Siarhei Viazovich at 01’41” and Aleksandr Vasilevski at 02’24”. Airat Mardeev completed the Top 5 at 03’08”.