Zhang Ming wins the 7th and final stage
In racing everything can happen till the last meter. Yesterday’s epic and tough stage saw all the favourites out of the games as they damaged their vehicles on the road. Today the spotlights were all for the new protagonists: #130 Ma Hailong (Nissan VQ40), who was leading the overall classification, and #115 Zhang Ming (SMG Hanwei Team), second at + 1min 44sec.
The spectacular short but tough final stage took place in the dunes around the FB-Park with the competitors who took the start in reverse order of their standing position.
#115 Zhang Ming (SMG Hanwei Team) won the stage in front of #130 Ma Hailong (Nissan VQ40) and #103 Han Wei (SMG Buggy), first of the FIA Classification, but his advantage of only 9 seconds was not enough to gain the first position of the general.
With today’s result #130 Ma Hailong and his co-driver Yao Bin won the first edition of the Dakar Series China Rally and a free entry to compete in the 2018 Dakar. Second of the general standing #115 Zhang Ming, third #109 Cheng Feng on a Toyota Hilux, first of the FIA Classification.
“I’m really happy” said the rally winner Ma Hailong, “I didn’t expect to win the race with my small team. I was really lucky that the top drivers had some issues yesterday. I’m sorry for them. Regarding my free entry for Dakar, I still haven’t realized such a great opportunity”.
After he broke the suspension of his Hilux yesterday, the Toyota Gazoo Racing South Africa driver Giniel De Villiers and his codriver Dirk von Zitzewitz re-joined the race for the final sprint on the dunes and finished 18th in the general standing with 12h30min penalty.
“It was really pity for yesterday’s impact as we were fighting for the win. I was climbing a series of small dunes when I landed on a rock. We broke the front suspension and the steering. We tried to fix it in the dunes, moving away the wheel from the bodywork and then we drove to the tarmac, steering with 4 hands as it was so hard to steer. Despite this incident, it was really worth to come and race the Dakar Series China Rally. The route in the Inner Mongolia were spectacular and the perfect playground to train on the sand in preparation of the Dakar”, said De Villiers, “here we can find all kind of dunes, from small dunes to mountains, round or steep It’s tougher than anything I have ever done before!”
T3 Group (Side by Side)
Today’s stage was won by #313 Zhong Lei in front of #317 Guan Quanquan and #315 Li Dongsheng all on Polaris RZR1000, but the winner of the general standing is #320 Zhang Qiang (Xingjunyi China Gold E-business)- Second of the overall #212 Zhang Huijun (Yamaha YZF1000), with #317 Guan Quanquan (Changbaishan Stock Pioneer) in third position.
The leader #205 He Xudong (Jiangxi Isuzu) finished 3rd in the stage and won the rally in his category in front of stage 7 winner #209 Zhang Jianfeng (Jiangxi Isuzu) with #202 Wuritunasheng (Zhengzhou Nissan) in third position overall and second in the stage.
The Liqui Moly driver #305 Xu Aili made another superb performance, finishing first of his category in the stage and first of the overall, winning the rally in his category. The second of the overall is #135 Li Jianguo (Beidaihe Brother Racing Club). Third of the general #303 Li Jinming (Liqui Moly) who finshed second in the stage ahead of #308 Fan Tingjun.
“We are really happy”, said Zhao Wei Vice President of FBLIFE and Senior Project Manager of the rally, “the idea of the Dakar Series China Rally is to offer the Chinese drivers the experience of an international rally and to prepare them to compete on the Dakar. I think we accomplished the target with this first edition. 104 competitors of 9 nationalities took the start and we saw great battles among the Inner Mongolian experienced driver Aorigele, the Dakar star Giniel De Villiers, Han Wei , Zi Yungang, Yong Zhou, 13th on the 2015 Dakar, just to mention a few names. This is the start of a new great adventure for the drivers, as well as FBLIFE benefiting from the knowledge and expertise of Amaury Sport Organisation (A.S.O.)”
Also Tiziano Siviero, the Sporting Director of the event, expressed his satisfaction: “We are really satisfied of how the rally went.
We had a great collaboration with FBLIFE and the local people and everything ran smooth during the whole scouting of the tracks and the race. I want to thank the whole staff for the great partnership”.
The Dakar Series China Rally finished just one day before the opening of the FB-Festival. This 12th edition, is dedicated to the FB-Life community that counts around 10 million members and all fans of off-road and adventure travel. Last year it saw 300.000 vehicles and 1 million visitors, this year expectations are much higher with fans driving their SUV to the FB Park from all over China.