Al-Attiyah remains in front, but only with front wheel drive

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Nasser Al-Attiyah (Toyota Hilux n°101) in the car class, and Andrey Karginov (Kamaz-Master n°309), in the trucks, win the 2nd stage of the 2018 SILK WAY RALLY. At the end of this marathon stage, without assistance at the bivouac in Elista, capital of the Republic of Kalmoukie… and of chess, the day’s two winners move their pieces forward. But on the eve of the return trip to Astrakhan, the match would appear particularly delicate and uncertain!

It has nearly been one hour that Nasser Al-Attiyah and Matthieu Baumel have been turning around their Toyota Hilux, cordoned off until tomorrow morning in the parc ferme set up in the heart of Elista. Despite a second win in two days, their concern is palpable. 125 kilometres into the second special stage the rear differential of their Toyota Hilux gave up the ghost. Not enough to stop the leaders but a problem that couldn’t come at a worse time, the day of the marathon stage, where the competitors are left to their own devices, without outside assistance. ‘Tomorrow will be a damage limitation exercise. If we lose 6 or 10 minutes it will be OK. But the transmission has to hold up until we get to the finish’, declares the Qatari driver, who in addition was penalised one minute for speeding on the stage. With that added to their time, the leaders are this evening only 3:34 ahead of the Peugeot 3008 DKR Maxi No 107 of British driver Harry Hunt, third on the day, slotting in between the MINI John Cooper Works of Saudi Yazeed Al Rahji and a Nani Roma, who’s health, moral and racing spirit increased progressively as he approached the capital of the Republic of Kalmoukie. One thing is sure: tomorrow’s 332 km special stage back to Astrakhan is likely to turn into a fine game of chess!

Women in control

In the T2 category, second on the day behind the Toyota Land Cruiser of Chinese driver, the Russian Anastasia Nifontova (Toyota Land Cruiser No 132) holds onto a comfortable lead overall in the production class. This evening in Elista, there are also two woman at the top of the T3 category. Taking full advantage of previous leader Nicolas Duclos’s (Polaris RZR n°117) roll after CP1, Mariia Oparina and Taisiia Shtaneva (Maverick X3 n°115) move up to the overall lead 1:30 in front of the Bulgarian Cenkov (Quaddy Yxz n°130), winner of this 2nd stage.

Trucks: Kamaz 6 out of 6

The day after a less than successful first stage, the result of a multitude of niggling little problems, Team Kamaz-Master were today back on form. And while Andrei Karginov (Kamaz-Master No 309) took the stage win ahead of team mates Sotnikov and Nikolaev, victim of a broken wheel 20 kms from the finish, Mardeev, Shibalov and Kupriyanov complete an impress grouping for the Russian manufacturer. Overall, Karginov is just 1:47 ahead of Sotnikov, a gap that promises a fine fight between the two team mates tomorrow as they head back to Astrakhan. After the problems of Martin Van Den Brink (Renault Mammoet n°304), still repairing his front end after yesterday’s stage – he hopes to restart Tuesday -, this second stage caused big problems for all four of the Belarus MAZ Sport Auto team trucks. While Vitaly Muryliou decided not to take the start following engine troubles, one after the other, Vishneuski (engine), Vasilievskiy (stuck) and Viazovich (turbo) successively accumulated difficulties…

Silk Way Rally