Liaison: 174 km – Special: 130 km – Liaison: 106 km – Total: 410km.
The 16th edition of the Sertões – PLP International Rally has finished at the beach of Natal, a seaside town in the northeast Brazil. The sky was cloudy and the rain was threatening as the first bike arrived at the finish podium.
The electricity was all over the atmosphere, but Zé Hélio, warmly acclaimed by the public and participants, has done some lightning when announcing in the microphone: “I`ve beaten the best riders of the world, the KTM team. and also the less appreciated rider of the world, Cyril Despres! He`s a bad loser and did refuse to shake hands with me when I wanted to congratulate him.”
Last night, after arriving at the Mossoró camp without his cardboard, Cyril Despres was penalized in 5 minutes – which has enabled the Honda ri der to win the Rally with 4`49 of difference from the French, who did not appreciate the application of the rule.
However, while Despres was a bad loser and hooted, Brazilians have acclaimed David Casteau (KTM) for his third place! The French, welcomed as he was a native by the KTM Brazil, has finished the race ahead of Marc Coma (KTM), Ruben Faria (Honda), Pedro Bianchi Yamaha), Helder Rodrigues (Honda) and Jacek Czachor (KTM). Christophe Barriere-Varju took his small bike to a nice 25th place, Ludo Boinnard was the 27th and Oscar Polii has finished in the 33rd position.
In the cars, without surprises, Giniel de Villiers and Dirk von Zitzewitz (Volkswagen) won the Sertões Rally, beating his team mates Mark Miller and Ralph Pitchford. “It was a great Special”, said Giniel, “but in the dunes, there were some many way points and we were going so fast that the GPS was not able to keep up!”
For Kris Nissen (head of Volkswagen Motorsport), who came to support his team at the arrival, this participation in Sertões was a very good training for the Dakar. “We came to Brazil to win and also to test our Touareg in a different ground than Africa`s. It was a great experience and the whole Volkswagen team did a very good job”.
Krisztof Holowczyc and Jean-Marc Fortin got the nice second place in today`s Special but, unfortunately, they have finished in 15th overall – but the 5th FIA car behind Oscar Montaño and Ariel Jaton.
The third place overall returned to Reinaldo Vareta driving a Mitsubishi, while Jean de Azevedo, after his delays, has classified in the 6th place and Carlo de Gavardo, who found himself without traction toda y, has finished secondly in his class and in the 19th position of the Special.
Tonight, the Sertões Rally caravan prepares for a preview of tomorrow night`s Award Ceremony party