The end of the rally is approaching and the twelfth of the event’s 13 stages saw Stéphane Peterhansel/Jean-Paul Cottret post their seventh fastest time. Today’s backdrop took the form of impressive canyons, faster portions and some superb sequences of sweeping corners. The 162 competitive kilometres enabled the crew of the N°181 Peugeot 2008 DKR to extend its lead at the top of the provisional order by a few more minutes. A puncture relegated Cyril Despres/David Castera to fourth on the 2015 China Silk Road Rally’s penultimate stage but they are still a strong second overall. The last leg is likely to be modified following recent wet weather in the Dunhuang region which has flooded some of the usually dry river beds. The first car will start the day at 7:40am local time, while the podium celebrations are scheduled for 12:30pm.
We lifted a little to spare the mechanicals over the fairly rough section towards the middle of today’s stage. There was some fast driving, as well, plus some nice, sweeping corners and 10 kilometres through a sandy canyon. They may be short, but these stages are good fun. Just one day to go…
Stéphane passed us after 85 kilometres. Then, 10 kilometres further on, we had to stop to stage our rear-right wheel after picking up a puncture. It was the roughest part of the rally so far. The canyons were quite impressive and there seemed to be a photographer every 10 metres!
1. Stéphane Peterhansel (FRA)/Jean-Paul Cottret (FRA) Peugeot 2008 DKR 1h31mn54
2. Lui Kun (CHN)/Liao (CHN) Mitsubishi Pajero MPR11 +3’55
3. Christian Lavieille (FRA)/Jean-Pierre Garcin (FRA) Haval +4’02
4. Cyril Despres (FRA)/David Castera (FRA) Peugeot 2008 DKR +5’50
5. Han Wei (CHN)/Pan Hong Yu (CHN) Haval +6’49
Overall classification after SS12 (Provisional)
1. Stéphane Peterhansel (FRA)/Jean-Paul Cottret (FRA) Peugeot 2008 DKR
2. Cyril Despres (FRA)/David Castera (FRA) Peugeot 2008 DKR +33’14
3. Han Wei (CHN)/Pan Hong Yu (CHN) Haval +50’36
4. Christian Lavieille (FRA)/Jean-Pierre Garcin (FRA) Haval +58’14
5. Lui Kun (CHN)/Liao (CHN) Mitsubishi Pajero MPR11 +1h19’49