Fenix Rally 2024, leg 1: the longest stage

540 km in the menu from Djerba to Douz

The first Leg of Fenix Rally 2024 offered the longest stage in this year’s race in terms of kilometers, but not the most difficult one. The route included three timed sections, and the overall length was 540 kilometers, 390 of which were special stages. The participants leaved the island of Djerba by a liaison and started the leg very early toward Douz, passing around Ksar Ghilane. Fast tracks, narrow routes and sand were in the menu marked this long day, and at the end there were big surprises.

No doubt, Jerome Pelichet (№215, Optimus) came to Fenix Rally 2024 with one simple ambition – to repeat his victory from the maiden edition of the marathon in 2021. And he is on this way very early. The legend from France claimed the first stage win in the car class, with over an hour and 40 minutes ahead of Cristi Movila (№221, Hummer H3 EVO) from Romania. The battle for the day was actually for the second place, where Breslau’s veteran Jork Neese (№211, CARTEC PROJEKT II) from Germany missed that chance with some two minutes.

Egidijus Malinovskis (№410, Can-Am) took the lead after the first leg in the SSV class. The pilot from Lithuania claimed 4 minutes to Marc Bonnafoux (№415, Can-Am) from France. Third fastest time was for Marcin Graczyk (№415) from Poland, also with Can-Am, who finished with almost 11 minutes behind the leader.

For Malinovskis Fenix 2024 is the first race ever. And he started like a boss, even after he hit a dune some meters from the start after refueling, loosing time and receiving damage on one of the wheels and running big part of the stage with three working wheels. But this didn’t stop him, also the big jump from a rock. Really lucky guy!

Laurynas Avyzius (№38, Husqvarna) was the fastest biker after the longest stage from Djerba to Douz. The rider from Lithuania finished the stage with 5:16 min. advance to Federico Bassi (№40) from Italy, also with “Husky”. Daily top 3 was completed by Gaspard Delsard (№29, KTM) from France, who clinched just one second from his compatriot and last year champion from Fenix Sebastien Tocaben (№1, KTM).

After the finish, Avyzius, who is doing his second Fenix, commented: “It was really hard, it was 3 stages, 3 different stages. One was fast, one was stony, and the last was full of dunes, so everything together in a nice piece today. The first day is really nice, looking forward for the next stage”.

In the ATV class Gerome Pla (№23, Polaris) from France, continued with his high tempo from the prologue and took the stage win. Almost hour and a half behind him was Stuart Marley (№19, Can-Am), who claimed the second spot. Third place for the day was for his compatriot and team-mate Jamie Shaw (№21, Can-Am), 2 hours behind the leader.

In the truck or “MAN” class, Paolo Calabria set the pace in the opening leg, finished 13:32 minutes ahead of Matthias Koerber. With not a good day, Klaas Steinhoefel is almost seven hours and half behind the leader due to tech problems and difficulties on the stage.

The second full-scale racing day of Fenix Rally 2024 brings some really big changes. Due to the expected strong wind and rain in the upcoming days, the race committee decided to change the entire program. Thus, the competitors will drive Marathon stage Leg 3 and Leg 4 on 11.04 (Thursday) and 12.04 (Friday). The rest day will be on 13.04 (Saturday) in Douz, and after that the racers will drive the route of Leg 2 on 14.04 (Sunday), finishing in Ksar Ghilane.

Speaking for the marathon stage, the first part will include almost 194 kilometers, 186 of which will be against the clock. Sand, dunes and tricky navigation will be on the way to the desert camp, where will be no assistance crews.

 

Source: RBI / Fenix Rally