Federico Villagra maintains his second place in the overall classification and makes progress in his fight for the title having reduced Nikolaev’s lead to just one second
In the longest timed special for the Trucks, Ton Van Genugten’s #509 IVECO Powerstar gave a demonstration of power and reliability, tackling the toughest roads of the world to cross the finish line first.
This was the third win in the last five stages for Dutchman Ton Van Genugten, but it was not enough to put him in contention for the lead. He crossed the finish line 4m11s before Martin Kolomy at the end of a long stage of more than seven hours.
The big fight of the day was between Federico Villagra and Eduard Nikolaev, with the Argentinian starting the stage with a lead of just 1m07s of on the Russian. It was a difficult day with ups and downs for both: Villagra managed to gain a 32-minute lead on his rival during the stage, but the Russian succeeded in turning the tables on him and finished 1m08s ahead. With this result, Villagra closed in on Nikolaev, who now leads by just one second. With 487 timed kilometers in two stages ahead, the battle for the lead promises to be unforgettable in the 40th edition of the Raid Rally.
Artur Ardavichus delivered another consistent performance, finishing fifth, 15m14s behind teammate Ton Van Genugten. For the first time in this edition of the Dakar 2018, the three IVECO Powerstars achieved placements in the Top 5 of the stage. The Kazakh concedes the fifth place overall to the winner of the day, but remains sixth and hopes to enter the Top 5 in the last days.
In the penultimate stage, the Dakar 2018 caravan will face a long day, with 927 kilometers linking the cities of San Juan and Córdoba, and a 368 timed special.
Turin, 19 January 2018
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