Balázs Szalay and László Bunkoczi in the top ten after another rainy day on the Silk Way Rally
2017. July 11. 17:17
On the stage between Kosanaj and Astana two measured stretch were prescribed by the organizers of the Silk Way Rally, the former was 214 and the latter 159 kilometer long. Apart from the beginning of the first and the end of the second, both selectives took place in rain, so the course was so muddy again that the biggest issue was to keep the vehicles on the road.
Those who were braver, than the average, ended in the ditch, among the threes or, the worst case: in a lake.  The Balázs Szalay – László Bunkoczi duo only did what was reasonable and rational and finished the day on the 14th position and moved forward to the 9th in the overall. 

“The first few kilometers after the start were really to our favor. We raced on a great technical course, then the rain started falling again and the road became extremely slippery” told us Szalay. “The greatest task was to keep the Mokka on the road, I kept hoping that the clouds disappear and the rain finally stops. But the weather was not that king to us. I got exhausted by struggling in the mud with tires basically designed for rocks. We simply did not prepare for such great mud. Sometimes the road was so slippery, I kept pushing the break in vein, we still run faster or we could not make the turns. So this was not an easy stage, but we are happy to be here in the finish, because many race mates are out already. Additionally, we are in the overall top ten, so we keep moving forward!”

Well, among others, the thirteen-time-Dakar-winner, Stéphane Peterhansel rolled the Peugeot to its top (but can continue) and Cyril Despres slid into a lake, so last year’s winner waited for the assistance with a rope in his hand, which arrived soon. Those who ended in the front of the field cannot complain. But the others were just happy that they are over this dreadfully muddy stage.  
“We were tricked again. At the briefing we were told that this stage will test the pilots’ driving abilities. But the meter counter was counting pell-mell, we were driving on a very risky terrain, that any mistakes in navigation would have led to the end of our world” explained László Bunkoczi, the Opel Dakar Team’s co-pilot. We almost tipped over, something threw the car at the middle of nowhere in a field, which rolled to two-wheels, but fortunately tipped back to four. This stage greatly riddled the field, very many racers had issues, it will be interesting to see how many of them can be at the Wednesday start.
Fortunately, the other Hungarian unit of the field, the Miklós Kovács – Péter Czeglédi- László Ács trio had a much smoother day with the beaked Scania. Certainly, they were sliding as well, but the misfortune of others made them very cautious. With their careful driving style, they finished the day on the tenth position and moved up to the outstanding seventh place on the overall rank list.

Stage 4. nap, Kostanaj - Astana (total distance: 908.80 km, selective: 214+159 km). Cars: 1. Sébastien Loeb, Daniel Elena (France, Peugeot 3008 DKR Maxi) 3:10:36, 2. Al-Radzsi, Colsoul (Saud Arabia, Belgium, Mini) 22:03 m d., 3. Amos, Delaunay (France, Ford Trx08lmod) 28:08 m d., ...14. Balázs Szalay, László Bunkoczi (Hungary, Opel Mokka) 59:54 m d. Trucks: 1. Martin Kolomy, Jiri Stross, Michal Ernst (Czech Republic, Tatra) 3:45:50, 2. De Rooy, Torrallardona, Rodewald (Neatherlands, Iveco) 21 s d., 3. Ardavicius, Bruynkens, Huisman (Kazakhstan, Belgium, Belgium, Iveco) 1:56 m d., ...10. Miklós Kovács, Péter Czeglédi, László Ács (Hungary, Scania) 1:00:37 h d.
Overall. Cars: 1. Sébastien Loeb 8:56:10, 2. Despres, Castera (France, Peugeot 3008 DKR) 1:07:56 h d., 3. Lavieille, Garcin (France, Baicmotor BJ40L) 1:12:35 h d., ...9. Balázs Szalay 2:33:33 h d., Trucks: 1. Martin Kolomy 10:30:57, 2. De Rooy 11:08 m d., 3. Ardavicius 14:31 m d., .
 ..7. Kovács Miklós 2:13:57 h d.

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