Competitors of the 2008 Transsyberia Rally powered by Sony Ericsson had a lengthy wait for the results of the third special stage between Kazan and Yekaterinburg. Only at the end of the fourth leg in West Siberia’s Tyumen did Sergey Kvashnin and Alexey Pavlovskiy of Team Russia 2 learn that they were the fastest in their Porsche Cayenne S Transsyberia on the 10 kilometre special stage, the shortest of the whole rally. Twelve seconds behind was Armin Schwarz and Andreas Schulz from Team Germany 1 in second. With this result, the pair further reduced the gap to the leading Team Portugal by around seven seconds. Antonio Tognana and Carlo Cassina from Team Italy followed just eight-tenths of a second behind.
Due to severe thunderstorms the fourth special stage had to be cancelled. The loamy ground had become so soft that even the doctors’ special all-terrain emergency vehicles were in danger of getting stuck. For security reasons the organisers decided not to start the stage.
Comments from the Porsche pilots:
Sergey Kvashnin: “After setting the fastest time on the third leg I’m naturally highly motivated for the rest of the rally. What a shame we couldn’t compete today. But if the stage is impassable then it’s impassable. Such thundershowers are simply an act of nature beyond our control.”
Lars Kern: “Because of a gastro-intestinal problem I let my co-driver Daniel van Kan drive the transport leg. Now I have a little time to recover and hope that things are better in the morning. Then it’s back to business.”
Ryan Millen: “If the organiser says we can contest the leg, then we do it. If he thinks it’s impassable then we don’t do it. The decision to cancel the leg or not has to be left to the organisers. We do as we are told. That’s okay.”
Andreas Schulz: “Of course we need every kilometre to catch up. But it’s the right decision to cancel the stage if safety is compromised and the rescue vehicle can’t get through. In any case, Armin and I have total faith in our car. The Porsche would have made it through.”
Eddie Keng: “I think it was the right decision. Apparently the organisers’ vehicles took over an hour to drive the first few hundred metres. It’s actually a relief not to have to drive today’s special stage.”
Francois Borsotto: “The decision not to start the special stage was absolutely right. To take such risks for 21 kilometres and to damage the cars would have been wrong. Above all, when I think of the mechanics who would have had to work through the night. I used to be a mechanic so I know what I’m talking about. Now we all have a little time to prepare for the next stage after the previous day’s long transport leg. We continue on tomorrow. There are enough possibilities in Mongolia to make up or lose time.”
On 15th July, the fifth of a total of 14 legs through West Siberia from Tyumen to Omsk runs over 672 kilometres, with a special stage of 50 kilometres. The Transsyberia Rally started on 11th July on Moscow’s Red Square and finishes on 25th July in the Mongolian capital of Ulaanbaatar after a total of over 7,000 kilometres.
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