G-ENERGY TEAM: Stage six – Riyadh welcomes DAKAR
STAGE 6 | Ha’il -> Riyadh | Date: 10.01.2020 | [GMT +3]
Special stage: 477 km | Total stage distance 830 km | Liaison: 353 km
Weather conditions: day +19С, night +6С; wind 4 m/s
The DAKAR sixth stage finish took place near the city of Riyadh – the capital of Saudi Arabia. Founded in the 18th century, the city is now the largest populated area in the country – almost eight million people live there. It is in Riyadh that the participants will have a rest day before the second half of the DAKAR rally marathon.
The last DAKAR stage before the rest day offered the rally participants serious change in the road conditions – the special stage from Ha’il to Riyadh took the racers and riders to the “big sandbox”. The sixth day track was filled with sand massifs with low dunes and had very high-speed sections on the plateau, where lighter and more powerful cars, motorcycles and quads had the advantage.
The surface change from stone-covered off-road to a traditional desert landscape began at the fifth stage – the DAKAR route goes farther away from the Red Sea and the participants reorient towards overcoming sands and dunes.
Of course, due to the reduction in the number of rocky areas, the risk of tyre puncture decreased, but the participants still suffered from them at the last stage.
The sixth stage top three completely coincided with the positions in the general classification of the race. Andrey Karginov from the KAMAZ-master team had the best result; his teammate Anton Shibalov became the second, and Sergey VYAZOVICH from MAZ-SPORTauto, who is supported by Gazpromneft – Lubricants, rounded out the TOP-3. In the same order, these racers follow in the results of all six stages.
This situation in the group of leaders was formed from the very start of the sixth stage – in the course of the day, Karginov, Shibalov and VYAZOVICH kept their positions, not letting anyone to come closer up to the special stage finish.
At the end of the day, the special stage winner Andrey Karginov was ahead of Anton Shibalov, who became the second, by 4.5 minutes. In turn, Sergey VYAZOVICH was 12.5 minutes behind Karginov.
Today, the Belarusian racer had the opportunity to compare the dynamic characteristics of his MAZ with one of the KAMAZ trucks dynamics. Unfortunately, the comparison was not in favor of the bonneted truck from Minsk – on straight sections and soft ground, MAZ, according to its driver, cannot keep up with KAMAZ. According to the racer, the problem is in the engine – more precisely, in the lack of power.
The other two MAZ-SPORTauto team drivers Aleksey VISHNEVSKY and Alexander VASILEVSKIY finished the sixth special stage in eighth and ninth positions, respectively.
According to the results of the past six stages, the Truck standings leaders will meet the rest day like this: Andrey Karginov is leading, Anton Shibalov is the second 19 minutes behind, and Sergey VYAZOVICH is taking the third place and losing 36 minutes to Karginov.
The sixth special stage became an early finish for the crew of Eduard Nikolaev from the KAMAZ-master team. From the very beginning of the DAKAR rally, he suffered one failure after another mainly related to equipment breakdowns. Yesterday, he stopped on the track to fix engine damage. The crew spent the rest of the day and all night – about 12 hours – repairing, they managed to disassemble the motor and reassemble it; after that they went to the bivouac, where they arrived in the early morning.
Having rested for several hours, Nikolaev went to the start of the sixth day, but almost immediately his KAMAZ engine exploded. The truck started on five working cylinders – there was no time for the mechanics to completely repair the car on the bivouac. As a result, after the start, due to vibration, part of the crank mechanism went out from the bottom of the engine and the crew was forced to give up the fight – this was the end of the race for last year's DAKAR winner.
WHAT PARTICIPANTS WILL FIND TOMORROW
On Saturday, 11 January, the DAKAR participants have a long-awaited rest day. Crews and riders will be able to take a breath and prepare – both mentally and physically – to overcome the second half of the rally marathon distance. And for the sports teams mechanics this is a full busy day, when it will be necessary to check all vehicles components and proactively replace some components to eliminate technical problems. Indeed, immediately after the rest day, the field will have to overcome the longest and most diverse special stage of the rally – 546 kilometers from Riyadh to Wadi Al Dawasir. The participants will find many kilometers of dune massifs and intricate network of dirt roads. It will not be boring, the co-drivers will have to be very attentive – it can be said now.
Alexander Volkov, G-Energy mobile laboratory specialist,
“The studies of samples of lubricants working in engines and transmission units of MAZ-SPORTauto sports trucks showed the most intense dynamics of changes in the physicochemical parameters of G-Energy oils. Indirectly, we can conclude that yesterday’s (fifth) stage was the hardest from all past days. The special stage profile and the road conditions were difficult: the truck units experienced additional operational loads, both from difficult environmental conditions (dustiness and air temperature) and from driving on severe off-road – frequent gear shifts when changing the pace of movement, loads on transmissions and engines when driving on viscous loose surfaces, slopes and descents. We saw it by the intensity of changes in the studied characteristics of the working oils, nevertheless, having analyzed the research reports of the selected samples, we concluded that under these extreme conditions, G-Energy oils retain the necessary properties and ensure the normal level of operation of units and assemblies. Let's see what will happen next".
Sergey Vyazovich, International Master of Motorsports of the Republic of Belarus, head of the MAZ-SPORTauto team, crew No. 503 driver,
“Now it has become evident why we’ve been losing so much in recent days. Today we’ve been in direct visibility with KAMAZ trucks and it has become obvious that we’ve been losing a lot in terms of the engine. Including direct areas with soft soil, we don’t reach such a speed – they just drive away. Therefore, today we have shown our maximum possibilities. We pushed hard, but we’re not capable of anything more… If we talk about the track nature, the dunes were not difficult, they changed with fast plateaus. We straightened somewhere and drove up to Dmitry Sotnikov, but as soon as we started to go on the heavy soil, our maximum speed was 120-130 km/h, we can’t do anything about it. On another ascent, we lost time because of the motorcyclist. The rise was quite “sharp”, we couldn’t take it. We signaled to the guy using Sentinel, but he didn’t let us go – he wanted to climb first. But motorcycles ride at a lower speed, we had to back out and drive around. I think we lost two minutes there. But in general, today's result is our maximum, the engine “loses””.
Alexander Vasilevsky, Candidate Master of Motorsports of the Republic of Belarus, crew No. 508 driver,
“The day was good. Driving at maximum speed. There were no difficulties either in navigation or along the route. There were plateaus, sands – we went perfectly, there were no mistakes. I think we drove well”.
Alexey Vishnevsky, Master of Motorsports of the Republic of Belarus, crew No. 528 driver,
“The special stage was fast, there were a lot of dunes and sands, but there were also enough speed sections. In general, the special stage went well for us – without any stops and problems. There was a two-kilometer stretch, where there were dunes with high ascents, but we climbed from the first time without any problems".