Pole Przygonski holds early initiative in Rally Kazakhstan

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Poland’s Jakub Przygonski and Belgian navigator Tom Colsoul were the early leaders of the inaugural Rally Kazakhstan, after a 268.23km loop stage around the remote deserts of the Mangystau oblast to the north of Aktau City, on Sunday.

Low-lying fog in the Caspian depression had delayed the start of the day’s action by 2hrs 20mins, but it failed to stop the Pole clocking a time of 2hrs 32min 56sec in his Orlen Team Mini All4 Racing to open up an unofficial lead of 56 seconds over Qatar’s Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah and French navigator Matthieu Baumel in their Overdrive Racing Toyota Hilux.

Fellow Pole Aron Domzala settled in well to hold third overall in the second of the Belgian-run Toyota Hiluxes and Czech Miroslav Zapletal was fourth in his Hummer H3 Evo VII. Yuriy Sazonov began the defence of his Rally Kazakhstan title strongly by holding fifth in a second Hummer and fellow Kazakh driver Yerden Shagirov rounded off the top six.

Qatar’s Mohammed Abu Issa held sixth overall until he stopped for nearly an hour with technical issues after 218.66km of the stage. Lithuania’s Antanas Juknevicius and Russian Viktor Khoroshavtsev duly moved up  to seventh and eighth in their respective Toyota Hilux and BMW X3 CC.

Saudi Arabia’s Yazeed Al-Rajhi endured a disappointing start in his X-raid Mini All4 Racing and suspension damage after an awkward jump forced him to stop after 81km of the special. “It happened at a big jump and the car landed on one wheel at the rear, sideways, and the suspension broke,” said X-raid team director Sven Quandt.

Saudi Arabia’s Yasir Saeidan and Qatar’s Adel Abdulla were evenly matched in the T2 contest. Saeidan managed to edge into an unofficial lead of 26 seconds over his Qatari rival. Marat Abykayev was a close third, while Patrice Garrouste held the advantage over T3 rival Claude Fournier on the opening stage.

2017 Rally Kazakhstan – positions after SS1 (unofficial @ 15.45hrs):

1. Jakub Przygonski (POL)/Tom Colsoul (BEL) Mini All4 Racing                                       2hrs 32min 56sec

2. Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah (QAT)/Matthieu Baumel (FRA) Toyota Hilux Overdrive                 2hrs 33min 52sec

3. Aron Domzala (POL)/Maciej Marton (POL) Toyota Hilux Overdrive                                  2hrs 35min 42sec

4. Miroslav Zapletal (CZE)/Marek Sykora (SLO) Hummer H3 Evo VII                                   2hrs 36min 48sec

5. Yuriy Sazonov (KAZ)/Vitalyi Yevtyekhov (KAZ) Hummer H3 Evo VIII                               2hrs 39min 25sec

6. Yerden Shagirov (KAZ)/Dmitro Tsyro (UKR) Toyota Hilux                                              2hrs 43min 49sec

7. Antanas Juknevicius (LTU)/Darius Vaiciulis (LTU) Toyota Hilux                                        2hrs 49min 15sec

8. Viktor Khoroshavtsev (RUS)/Anton Nikolaev (RUS) BMW X3 CC                                       2hrs 54min 55sec

9. Yasir Saeidan (SAU)/Laurent Lichtleuchter (FRA) Toyota Land Cruiser         T2                   3hrs 11min 01sec

10. Adel Abdullah (QAT)/Sébastien Delaunay (FRA) Nissan Patrol T2                                    3hrs 11min 27sec