PRZYGONSKI CLOSES THE GAP ON AL-RAJHI WITH FASTEST TIME ON THIRD RALLY KAZAKHSTAN STAGE

MEDIA INFORMATION

2018 Rally Kazakhstan

For immediate release

Wednesday, May 30th2018

PRZYGONSKI CLOSES THE GAP ON AL-RAJHI WITH

FASTEST TIME ON THIRD RALLY KAZAKHSTAN STAGE

·        Russia’s Vasilyev slips to third place; Prokop consolidates fourth overall

·        Qatar’s Adel Abdulla fastest on stage in T2; Frenchman Garrouste wins T3 stage

KENDERLY (KAZAKHSTAN): Poland’s FIA World Cup leader Jakub Przygonski reduced MINI team-mate Yazeed Al-Rajhi’s overall lead in Rally Kazakhstan to four minutes with the fastest time on the third selective section through the western deserts on Wednesday. 

Driving an X-raid MINI John Cooper Works Rally alongside Belgian navigator Tom Colsoul, the winner of April’s Qatar Cross-Country Rally posted a time of 3hrs 24min 35sec for the varied 327.47km stage and the former enduro rider will now open the road on day four.

With Al-Rajhi dropping 5min 03sec to the stage winner, Przygonski’s closest championship rival Martin Prokop (Ford F-150 Evo) carded the second quickest time - 48 seconds behind the Pole - to consolidate fourth in the overall rankings.

Yazeed Al-Rajhi

Al-Rajhi’s co-driver Timo Gottschalk said: “Today was a beautiful stage with really nice landscape. We did not push so much today. We are still leading the race and everything is going to plan.”

Prokop added: “The stage was very different and a little more difficult than the two before. We did no mistakes. That was nice for us and we tried to keep a good rhythm. The navigation was good and the car was behaving well. There were a lot of drops and holes in the road. The last part, there were a few cars together and it was very dusty. The camel grass here is terrible to pass. But it was good to warm up in the dunes at the start.”

The third fastest time pushed the Russian crew of Vladimir Vasilyev and Konstantin Zhiltsov down to a similar position in the overall standings in their MINI Cooper Countryman.

X-raid team director Sven Quandt said: “It was another good day for us and the MINIs finished in good positions. Yazeed still leads, Jakub is second and Vasilyev is third. Still we have three difficult days to go.”

Jakub Przygonski

Frenchman Luc Alphand set the fifth quickest time to maintain his fifth in the rankings with his X-raid’s MINI Buggy, but delays for Harry Hunt enabled Russian driver Andrey Rudskoy to move into sixth - the G-Force driver leap-frogging Viktor Khoroshavtsev in the last of the MINI John Cooper Works Rally at the same time. Boris Gadasin climbed to eighth with the sixth fastest time.

“Today was one of the nicest stages,” said Alphand. “Half of the stage was like being in Africa in a big valley with sandy tracks and some trees. The landscape was beautiful and we also had the dunes at the beginning. We had high-speed, everything, dunes, sand and we really enjoy. We were up the cliffs sometimes and then we could see the valley with the big rocks. It was fantastic.

“But we are not here as a tourist, we are here for racing, so again we had two punctures and we had to drive 300km without a spare wheel. We try to improve the car every day. The potential is there and our pace is good. We have to bring the car to the finish. This is a nice place to race.”

Adel Abdulla crosses rocky terrain on Rally Kazakhstan

Harry Hunt’s topsy-turvy event continued in the PH Sport Peugeot 3008 DKR. The Briton recovered well from first day delays to hold sixth at the start of day three, but ongoing gearbox problems cost him a lot of time and he struggled through the special at a slow pace in first and second gears. The Briton finished the stage ninth in the overall standings, while Yerden Shagirov rounded off the top 10. 

Hunt said: “It was not great today. We started fifth on the road. For the first 12km the dunes were good and the track was good but, at km113, our gearbox broke.  We stopped for over half an hour to try and fix it. We were stuck in third gear. We finished the rest of the stage at about 60km/h per. Not good.”

South Racing’s Fernando Alvarez began the third stage in 12th overall, but the Spaniard incurred 100 hours of time penalties after transmission issues and slipped to the foot of the rankings. “After 70km, we broke the clutch and had to retire and we will fix the car for tomorrow. Racing is like that. It is easy to have problems.”

Fernando Alvarez

Frenchman Ronan Chabot also stopped in the special in the last of the Overdrive Racing Toyotas and incurred a similar time punishment from rally officials.

Roman Chabot

Kazakhstan’s Kirill Chernenkov began the stage with an advantage of 9min 15sec in T2 over Russia’s Konstantin Ivanov and increased that lead to 15min 12sec. Both OFF-ROAD Kazakhstan’s Marat Abykayev and Qatar’s Adel Abdulla had lost over one and a half hours and 2hrs 45min, respectively, in the second stage, but the Qatari bounced back strongly with the fastest time on day three in his rented Toyota Land Cruiser. Abykayev retained third place, ahead of Adel Abdulla.

“This is my second rally,” said Abykayev’s son and co-driver Nursultan. “I was here last year with my father. It has been quite tough navigation and sometimes they split into five different routes and I have to explain which one to go down. We got slightly lost once yesterday and lost 10 or 15 minutes.”

One of two GAZelle NEXT trucks taking part in the National Rally

After his first stage disappointment on Monday, Frenchman Patrice Garrouste followed up his fastest time on the second stage with another T3 category win on day three, but the massive time penalties have ruined his chance of winning the section. Spaniard José Pena Campo started day three 16min 26sec in front of Santiago Navarro in T3, but delays for the leader pushed Navarro into an unofficial lead of 11min 10sec. Local driver Dmitry Pitulov retained third, despite incurring 100 hours of time penalties on day three.

Team Kamaz Masters driver Andrey Karginov maintained his advantage in the National Rally and would have been classified ninth overall in the main FIA event. 

Tomorrow (Thursday), the fourth selective section of 398.57km heads out of the Kenderly resort and skirts the nearby oil city of Zhanaozen before returning to Aktau City, where the event will then be based for the remaining two days.                      

Ends

For further media information: Neil Perkins, NDP Publicity Services, international media officer, 2018 Rally Kazakhstan, UK mobile: +44 7831 123153, E-mail: ndppublicity@googlemail.com, Twitter: @LordPerkins, www.ndp-publicity.com (press releases).

 

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