Two more stages to go in the first edition of the Central Europa Rally, and from today we know victory will be decided between David Casteu and Francisco Lopez.
The winner of the 5th stage is David Casteu, who extended his lead with 2 minutes.
The weather was a lot better compared to the last three days, although it was still pretty cold at the start in the early morning. Finally a special which was a bit longer compared to the rest of the week, but still not long enough to the liking of a rally-raid rider.
It was the first win for Francisco “Chaleco” Lopez who’s riding his second rally since he joined the KTM factory team in 2007.
"Chaleco" in his hunt for Casteu
Francisco: “I didn’t take any risk. When there were no dangermarks in the roadbook I was fast, otherwise I was always very cautious. I’m learning a lot this week riding the 690 Rally, in that point of view it’s a good experience. ”
Lopez gained almost a minute on Casteu in the first special, but Casteu made up for this in the second part.
In between the specials, the mechanics have to clean the bikes and prepare them again for the afternoon. Not the most grateful job, as they have to do the same job again when the second stage is finished.
Off course David Casteu was delighted with his stage win. Especially after the incident he experienced in the morning.
David: “It was dangerous because many situations were not mentioned in the roadbook. At some point I made a big jump, and I landed in the middle of a big puddle.
Water was going over my head, and the bike stalled right away. I cleaned the airfilter, which was a bit wet, the best way I could. Luckily the bike started again after trying for a little while.
You couldn’t rely on the roadbook, you had to look far ahead all the time to look for dangerous situations. The second special was fast and the navigation was not difficult as we basically followed one track. We all had problems with the gps, which wasn’t working properly. I’m 4 minutes ahead of Francisco, so I will be keeping an eye on him, especially in the first long special tomorrow morning.”
Jordi Viladoms is preparing his roadbook
Jordi Viladoms made another jump in the overall ranking today, just like he did yesterday. He’s now in 6th position, and still has chances to make it into the top 5. “As I started a bit further up in the field things automatically went better. Fewer markings meant less confusion. In the afternoon we rode in the forest, there was a lot of water on the track. I lost some time because of the gps problems, but I guess a lot of other riders did too. Tomorrow I will do the same as today, avoid making mistakes and get a clean ride. I will try to make it into the top five, because that’s where I should be.”
Cyril Despres was not happy with his stage result, neither with the rally so far. “Nobody really cared about the gps problems and continued. I was stupid enough to do care, and that cost me time…. “
On the program tomorrow exactly the same stage as today...
The weather forecasts are good so there’s a goon chance the condition of the track will improve a little.