Hellas Rally Raid started on the 20th of May, with a 35km prologue and a quad in the overall lead. 260 competitors were racing for 7 days, having covered 2000km. Sebastien Souday (#700) with his Yamaha 700 quad took the lead in front of the promising, fast and very young Italian rider Leonardo Toneli (#19) with his Husqvarna 501. In the SSV class, Tsankov - Todorova managed to claim a 13-second advantage, although they had a problem with the steering of their Yamaha SSV. Chris Birch with his 790R - in its maiden rally - stood in 4th overall position, in front of competition full of lighter bikes.
Heading north to Lake Plastira for the second day of the rally, competitors faced not only difficult navigation but also some of Greece's deepest forests. With Souday out due to an accident that did not allow him to continue, it was about time for Tonelli, #19, to shine creating a large gap. Veteran Dirk von Zitzewitz stood in 2nd place with rivals almost half his age. SSV category remained Tsankov - Todorova game with Heinz Kinigadner behind with a small gap.
On the third day, 280 kilometres left more than 17 competitors out of the competition. Especially, while Tonelli kept the lead in Moto-Quad class, Dirk von Zitzewitz had to withdraw for personal reasons, leaving space for the young guns to shine. Matteo Cura climbed in second with KTM's factory rider Chris Birch in 6th position with his new 790R. SSV had the most thrilling day of all categories since Heinz Kinigadner had a broken axle and Tsankov - Todorova had problems with the steering.
Day 4 of 2019 Hellas Rally Raid included 450 kilometres of race in a huge variety of terrain including snow, mud, water crossings and endless off-piste. Only 100 participants managed to finish on time. From dusk to dawn they faced the best of what Greece has to offer for off-road racing. In SSV category, Antoine Micheloud - Michel Pythoud had a spectacular race and led the race. Cristoph Rothaupt claimed the first spot in Bike class.
After the 'monster' stage, fifth day came with a shorter one - only 100 kilometres of racing. The variety of terrain and the difficult navigation were the main characteristics of the stage that made riders and crews fight against time despite the shorter stage. Tonelli retained the lead in bikes, while in SSV, Pythoud - Micheloud maintained their lead after a great performance in the 'marathon' stage.
In Day 6, almost 4 hours - or 200 kilometres - were enough for the leaders to maintain their way to the podium. The fastest route of the race drove all participants to the highest off-road path in the country, among rocks and snow.
There were no surprises on the last day of Hellas Rally Raid 2019. A hundred kilometres were not enough to prevent the leaders from winning the rally. As a result, Hellas Rally 2019 is over with great feedback from all participants.
Hellas Rally 2020 is already on the run and new places, new routes will be announced soon.
VIDEO: FINAL DAY
Text Credits: Hellas Rally Raid
Photo Credits: Actiongraphers