[ En | Ru ] The organizers have reduced the fourth stage of the race, passing by the route Astrakhan-Elista, by 150 kilometers. After difficult Astrakhan sands to overcome another 500 kilometers of the Kalmykia steppes seemed too much. However, some teams who are preparing for the “Dakar” consider that the more difficult is a stage, the better they will prepare for a transcontinental race.
Today, the crew of Anton Shibalov won; he is again the first today. The nearest pursuer – Ales Loprais – only 3 minutes 57 seconds separated them at the stage. The third position of the day is at the crew of Eduard Nikolaev. Crews of Ayrat Mardeev and Dmitry Sotnikov are at the fourth and fifth places that do not prevent them to lead in the overall standings.
Following the results of four stages all the top lines are at blue armada – the first is the crew of Ayrat Mardeev, which has 1 hour 17 minutes 27 seconds in front of his rivals, the second is Anton Shibalov and at the third position the crew of Dmitry Sotnikov.
Team manager Vladimir Chagin commented results of the day and of four stages of the race:
– We come more than 10 years to Kalmykia on the championships of Russia and recently at “Silk Way Rally”. This land always hospitably meets us, and this hospitality is felt not only by people, but also by cars. Fortunately, today we had no technical problems, the Kalmykia land helped our “KAMAZ” to overcome the off road steppe. As a result all crews showed good results – four “KAMAZ” in the five of leaders. It should be noted that the second today is our main rival – Ales Loprais. He drives the new car, and in previous days he had many breakages. I respect to much our Slav brothers the “MAZ” team. We remember how they took the first steps in rally raids, we remember ourselves. They progress every year, each race and show good results. All teams with whom I spoke today at the bivouac have good mood, everyone is happy with the results.
– After these results the crew of “KAMAZ-master” can relax a little bit?
– No way. Now the difference in time between the first six-seven competitors in truck category is only a few minutes, so any inaccuracy, technical problem, even such as wheel replacement, may affect the results in the final classification. Especially as it changes every day. There are still two of the most difficult days and all participants of the race are talking about the last stages. We will return to Astrakhan and pass two more special stages on the 499 and 412 kilometers.
– What do you think about the fact that the stage of Astrakhan-Elista was reduced for 150 kilometers?
– We’re against it. For us, it is better that the track will be longer and more difficult. For us, the “Silk Way Rally” – is the main training before the “Dakar”, where we train crews and test new cars. I understand that the first few days were hot, and it was hard for everybody, but for those who want to go to the “Dakar” there are ideal conditions at “Silk Way Rally”. This time the organizers reduced the stage, but in the next two days, the race director Semen Yakubov said that they will never consider such proposals.
– Fans worry too much about the crew of Andrey Karginov who left race. What guys are doing at this moment?
– Unfortunately, yesterday heart of their car stopped – the engine failed, and the crew will move till the finish with assistance group. Guys don’t just sit; they actively help their colleagues to prepare their cars for the following stage.
– Eduard Nikolaev’s crew was close to leave the race, but fortunately, everything managed. He still has chances to become a leader?
– The crew shouldn’t count on good results at the race any more. The matter is that after breakage guys received a big penalty, and the crew is now separated from the leaders by more than 100 hours. Now they have a task to pass everyday a route without breakages and mistakes, to test and prepare our new car for the forthcoming “Dakar”, and, certainly, to hold the former pace. I hope that he will be as fast as at “Dakar”.