Today the famous Pan-American Highway, on which assistance teams were going to bivouac in San Juan De Marcona, was crossed three times by the race track. At such points, it was allowed to organize service points, which fortunately were not needed today to the two crews of KAMAZ-master Team, that remained in the race. Immediately after the start, the contestants were awaited by a 57-kilometer loop on a tough dune section. The first to leave was the crew of Ton Van Genugten (IVECO). The fact is that the organizers returned him 15 minutes of time spent on the previous 5th stage to assist the crew of the Dutch Van Kasteren (Renault). Usually it is done, when it concerns danger to health or life of the affected crew. It is difficult to judge whether the case with Genugten was from this category, according to the photos, Renault simply got stuck with the right side in the deep ditch. Nevertheless, these returned 15 minutes after the fact made the Dutchman the winner of the day before yesterday and he started first.
“Today's route began, as the organizers promised, from very difficult dunes,” told at the finish the pilot of crew No 500 Eduard Nikolaev. “High sandy mountains and you had to drive on a slope crossing them. Precisely, to “hold” for the slope. It is difficult to always reckon upon the speed. I must admit, we have a little lack of experience driving on these sands. We have been in so many places, driven in so many places, but here the dunes are special. We have to learn during the race. The whole day we went together with Dima Sotnikov, because we knew that the sands were cunning and we should not waste time. If someone got stuck, someone had to pull him out. We drove the first part of the dunes after the CP3 and already in the end of the special stage, when I crossed the sandy slope and started to go down and there was another dune ... By inertia I bumped against it with the right wheel, the truck just casted to the left side. Fortunately, the sand was puffy, the truck almost did not suffer. The main thing is that the engine is fine. We dinged up the back door a bit; very quickly, in 8 minutes, put the truck back on the wheels and continued.”
“The first 50 kilometers, as it was promised, were not easy, but not the most difficult either,” Dmitry Sotnikov told about the stage. “We passed them quite steadily together with the crew of E. Nikolaev. In a calm and careful way. We saw Genugten standing with problems. Then the crew of Siarhei Viazovich joined us and was driving very closely to us. Twice we let him ahead, but then overtook him ourselves. On the last section I couldn’t take one of the dunes at once, Eduard waited for me, at that moment Viazovich drove us around and went ahead. Then there was an episode closer to the end of the special stage, almost at the “exit” from the sands, when Edik's truck fell on its side, but fortunately the truck was put on the wheels very quickly. However, the difficulties did not finish on that. There was a very cleverly hidden navigation point. A huge dune was on the route, we took it hard on the slope. Due the difficulty of the ascent, almost all participants went over to the right along the slope, while the point remained on the left of the incline. But no one could return to the left side of the slope because of the scarp of the mountain. And going down, no one could take this dune back for opening the point either. Many contestants circled there. Going around this dune, we started to search for more gentle uphill to it, found the valley, went back up along it and finally took this point. Gerard De Rooy, who followed us, repeated almost the same thing.”
Gerard De Rooy at the finish told that he had problems with the wheels during the stage. Several times his truck bumped heavily with his nose into hard sandy pits and knolls. The Dutch also noted that he was surprised at how complicated the special stages of Dakar had become in comparison with the Bolivian and Argentine sections. Nevertheless, he likes exactly such a tough extreme race. He managed to reduce the gap from the leading Sotnikov and Nikolaev for about 10 minutes. He himself considers this achievement insignificant. But it is clear that in the remaining four days of the race he will continue to attack in anticipation of possible mistakes or problems of the Russians.