Start of the 6th special stage and pre-last day of the race went on curvy steppe and sand tracks. To keep positions in the standings, navigators had to work hard. Challenging and interesting navigation-this is how the day was described by most of contestants. In the middle of the speed track the sportsmen had to overpass the most northern European desert – Archedino – Don sands, and finally quite deep ford through the river Buzuluk. In general, today crews passed 766 km, 317 of which were the special stage.
Unfortunate day was for Dmitry Sotnikov. 200 kilometers after the start his gear box broke down and it seemed impossible to continue the race, his truck returned to the bivouac in tow, which means loss of the first position in the general standings. Thus Andrey Karginov became the leader, showing again the best time in passing the special. Eduard Nikolaev became the second, Airat Mardeev finished only a few minutes after him. Anton Shibalov and Sergey Kuprianov took the fifth and seventh positions respectively.
Already tomorrow a long-waited finish awaits the contestants on the Red Square in Moscow. There after a week race triumphant names of the Silk Way Rally-2018 will be announced!
Andrey Karginov – pilot of crew No309:
“Today there was much dirt. We had to slow down beforehand after dry places, otherwise the truck would be absolutely uncontrolled. Plus today there were a lot of narrow places, which were difficult to pass on the truck, mirrors were torn off because of strong hits. Especially it was dangerous in tall grass: the truck doesn’t “sit” in the wheel tread, we have to cut and it is very dangerous because you may take no notice of something. Generally, the day was good, I liked everything. According to the legend, we were to travel around the bridge, crossing the river. I was in a doubt for a long time, then asked my co-pilot again: “Shall we dive there?!”, he affirmed. And really: we dived into the water and came up on the other bank. Basically, today was a navigator’s day: a lot of roads, plus there were references to barely visible roads, which are hardly seen. It if fine if it is in the grass but if it is in the field and the grass is cut, then it is very difficult to orientate. We were driving third in the overall after two cars and there were few treads, therefore the whole attention was at the navigator”.
Eduard Nikolaev – pilot of crew No301
“Today the special was so unusual, we had to estimate the road attentively, much mud, slippery, the truck is very heavy, unpredictable, a lot of holes, narrow roads. Therefore total concentration was required, not to “do strange things”. We are pleased with this day: very rich, interesting – there were sand, steppe tracks and towards the finish were fields with black soil, washed out quite well with the rain. Cars, as I heard had a lot of turnovers due to slippery tracks and you had to be very careful and attentive”.
Airat Mardeev – pilot of crew No303:
“Of course, it was more difficult to pass today’s special with an automatic gearbox, there was lack of shifts. You come at full speed, hit the brake pedal, release it, think that you are at the fourth speed, but in fact it is not the same. Generally, we had a good day, there were a lot of navigation, turning to the left, right, a lot of tracks and very easy to miss the needed turn at a great speed. Stopped near Dmitry Sornikov on the route, only 20 seconds lost on that, they told us to drive further, then he didn’t realize that problems would be so serious”.
Dmitry Sotnikov – pilot of crew No300:
“We started well today, the only thing – there was a problem that we started after leaders and the road was already ploughed up, we had to search for firmer ground. We felt that the truck was going hard. The first part was sandy and entering Achredino-Don sands, we were a bit accurate, realized that they are not tall but cunning. We had already had a bad experience in these sands. As soon as they finished, we “rolled in” immediately and even enjoyed it. We caught up Airat Mardeev after about 100 kilometers but then some problems with electricity occured and everything began to disappear. Thank God we managed to sort it out. Airat let us ahead and we drove together with him for about 100 kilometers. There was challenging navigation and it was apparent that previous contestants also drove unsuccessfully and Airat and I changed positions several times. Fortunately, he let us ahead three times and after the third time we drove into the village. There was a usual road, straight, with puddles and suddenly, without any sounds, symptoms or hits, the truck lost torque. I shifted the gears, but the truck didn’t go, we were just “rolling”. We stopped, went out to have a look, but I already realized that most likely it was a gear box. We only took a bow to check whether the whole transmission was ok, and the gear box didn’t give any rotation. We understood that the problems were serious, and it didn’t seem possible to repair it on the route and then waited for evacuation”.
Sergey Kuprianov – pilot of crew No311:
“Of course, the whole special section we were speaking well about the weather. If it was raining, it would be really hard and dangerous, as there were a lot of places where we were just going on the grass. In case of rain it would be slippery there and you could slip away . The route certainly was muddy after rains, but not extreme in terms of passibility and excessive risk. Almost the whole day we were driving on gas. Only thing is that we had a stop: most likely that passing the river, a water cooling pipe blew up and we had to stop for repair and fill the system, add water. We had to stop additionally to search for water in the village. Basically, all as in rally-raids”.
Dmitry Nikitin – co-pilot of crew No306:
“There was much work today for a navigator. Of course, there were a couple of places, where turns were passed by, we had to turn and come back in order to find a correct road. A very dirty special, in the end windscreen wipers started to stick, water almost finished and often only water from wheels helped to clean the windscreen. There was a short stop – the sideboard opened. We stopped to close, it didn’t take much time. At that time Airat caught us up, we let him pass, also there were small problems with clutch shift, we couldn’t drive at a higher speed, Anton had difficulties with shifting gears, these problems took two third of the route due to which we lost time today”.
Results after 5th stage:
1. Crew № 309 Karginov А. (КАМАZ-master) 3 h 46 min 26 sec
2. Crew № 301 Nikolaev E. (КАМАZ-master) + 6 min 18 sec
3. Crew № 303 Mardeev А. (КАМАZ-master) + 6 min 139 sec
4. Crew № 304 Martin Van Den Brink (MAMMOET RALLYE SPORT) + 8 min 42 sec
5. Crew № 306 Shibalov А. (КАМАZ-master) + 8 min 56 sec
6. Crew № 308 Sugawara Т. (HINO TEAM SUGAWARA) + 42 min 10 sec
7. Crew № 311 Kuprianov S. (КАМАZ-master) + 56 min 20 sec
8. Crew № 317 Levitskii B. (GAZ raid Sport) + 1 h 33 min 00 sec