Despres captures first stage win at 2017 Silk Way Rally

  After Sebastien Loeb’s dominating show the previous day, it was the Peugeot 3008DKR Maxi of Cyril Despres who took the overall win on day five of the 2017 Silk Way Rally. Despres broke the dreadlock by winning his first stage victory, which allowed the Frenchman to edge closer to his countryman Loeb in the overall standings.

The fifth day of the Silk Way Rally was perhaps the toughest and most challenging yet in terms of navigation: a fast stage from Astana to Semey with multiple route options but only one right way to the next bivouac. Team Peugeot had little time to admire it Kazakh Steppe’ stunning scenery as precise navigation being the focus of attention on this special stage.

Despres who started in 18th position sorted it out well, and shortened the gap on Loeb for 17 minutes in the overall classification. “It’s now five days since we left Moscow and I think this has been our first really good day without any problems. The mud and the rain are gone: we had a nice day. David did a really good job with navigation because the grass was really high and you couldn’t see much of the track ahead. It’s a first victory for us. We took a lot of time from our competitors which is really good, and let’s hope that from now on every day will be like this,” Despres noted.

A mixed day compared to the previous day’s glory for the Loeb/Daniel Elena duo in the Peugeot DKR Maxi. As they opened the track, Loeb and Elena took more time to make the right navigational choice and finished in the top 5 (cars classification). The mood is still high as their new car seems to particularly fit to Loeb. “The navigation was very, very complex. There were some bits where you were driving and the road just completely ran out. It was definitely the most difficult job in terms of navigation so far. We got lost in a couple of places, it was complicated, and we had to go back. But anyway, we are still here, and the car is working well.”

Third crew Stephane Peterhansel had the 3008DKR Maxi repaired overnight, but another setback saw him ended up 15th in the stage. The technical crew worked flat out to set-up his Peugeot DKR no.106, overight. During the start of the stage, after 8h of mechanic, Peterhansel was able to align at the stage departure. Unfortunately, he got slow down in his rise when the right front shock absorber broke at the 385 km. The Dakar champion ended up 15th of the stage and remain back for 3h38 in the overall classification.