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Dakar 2018: Belarus' Vyazovich 4th at Stage 5

Sport 11.01.2018 | 15:13
Sergei Vyazovich's truck. Photo courtesy of MAZ
Sergei Vyazovich's truck. Photo courtesy of MAZ

MINSK, 11 January (BelTA) - Sergei Vyazovich's crew of Belarus' MAZ-SPORTavto team came in fourth at Stage 5 of the 2018 Dakar Rally in the truck category, BelTA has learned.

MAZ driver Sergei Vyazovich and navigator Pavel Garanin tackled the special stage running in the dunes between the towns of San Juan de Marcona and Arequipa. Sergei Vyazovich lost six minutes only to the pace-setter Eduard Nikolaev (KamAZ) who clocked 3:37:12.

After the race finished, the organizers and judges revised the preliminary results of the stage. Time compensation was given to Russia's KamAZ racers Dmitry Sotnikov and Airat Mardeev as the two showed great sportsmanship and helped out the drivers who got into an accident. As a result, Sergei Vyazovich fell to fourth place. Eduard Nikolaev did not manage to avoid an accident either. His truck tipped over on one of the dunes but was lifted back onto its wheels with the help of Czech Martin Kolomy (Tatra).

Another two Belarusian crews made it to the top 20. Alexander Vasilevsky was 8th (22 minutes back). Aleksei Vishnevsky came in 11th (29 minutes behind the leader).

Eduard Nikolaev extended the lead in the general classification after Stage 5. Federico Villagra of Argentina remains Nikolaev's closest rival overall. Sergei Vyazovich is third in the overall standings, with 2:28:00 behind the leader and less than an hour ahead of Czech Martin Macik (LIAZ).

The 2018 Dakar edition has already been named one of the toughest ever. Two big-name racers Martin van den Brink (Netherlands) and Ales Loprais (Czechia) retired from the race during Stage 5.

The Dakar will leave Peru for Bolivia at Stage 6 to see the racers cover more than 400 kilometers. The next stage is expected to finish in Peru, Bolivia's largest city.

The 2018 Dakar edition is the seventh for the Belarusian team. The owner of MAZ-SPORTavto is Minsk Automobile Plant (MAZ trademark), the technical partner is velcom. The 2018 Dakar Rally is running through Peru, Bolivia, and Argentina to wrap up in Cordoba, Argentina on 20 January. The race features 3,500 kilometers of high-speed sections, with most of the route running in the highlands.

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