- Gerard Farrés repeats last year’s victory in Hellas Rally after a hard fight with Svitko where fair play was once again the main theme between these great riders.
- Dani Oliveras retires in the penultimate stage due to a crash after riding in the Top 5 for the whole race. Iván Cervantes finishes in an excellent 4th position on the 450 Rally, in an event riddled with navigation traps.
- Rosa Romero crosses the line in an impressive 10th final position, placing her as the first woman.
Greece, land of the Olympic Games and legendary sporting achievements, was the stage for the unique Hellas Rally Raid. Altitude, rain, fog, twisting tracks and impossible crossings in the dream landscapes which have not let anyone down: these were the ingredients of a race where, through a very technical and navigation based itinerary, the HIMOINSA Team has shined once again.
Farrés set off in the prologue with the nº1 plate after his victory last year and the expected fight with Svitko, who finished second in 2016, started immediately with the Slovak taking the stage win. This first day already served as a warning to all participants: navigation errors would prove very costly. With an itinerary filled with crossroads, roadbook interpretation would be the key to the race. Cervantes and Oliveras, aboard their 450 Rally, proposed a different strategy due to being conditioned by their bike’s lesser agility in this terrain. As for Rosa Romero, she started the rally faultlessly and eager to tackle the following stages.
The second stage served as a starting point for the whole team, landing a spectacular performance which would extend through to the end of the event, placing three of their riders in the Top 5 with Farrés at the top of the standings. The race linked Farrés in a ruthless battle with Svitko day after day, and Oliveras and Cervantes pressuring them from behing without contemplations.
With varied lengths throughout the days, the stages ranged between 70 and 300 km, which forced to develop a very studied strategy to attack in the best sectors. The rain was a fundamental factor in the race, making the difference in stages 3 and 4, making for some slippery terrain, joined as well by the fog, which made for a true challenge for Farrés to be the first rider.
Doubtlessly, the most singled out stage was the penultimate day, with an unfortunate crash for Dani Oliveras after hitting a rock, which forced him to abandon with a small crack in his collarbone and several cuts in his hand. Bad luck for the Catalan rider after an outstanding race. During the same stage, Farrés stopped to help Svitko with his destroyed roadbook which made him unable to follow the course. After attempting to repair it, they rode together with Farrés guiding the Slovak rider to the finish line, allowing him to remain in the race. Another showing of sportsmanship which characterises this couple of riders: last year the roles were inverted as it was Svitko stopping to give the Catalan rider some gasoline. A complicated day for Rosa Romero too, with problems in her rear gas tank, and an anecdote for Iván Cervantes to tell as he went down without further consequences while trying to avoid a calf standing on the track…
After seven demanding stages, the competition ended with Farrés in first position, Cervantes in a meritory fourth place with the 450 Rally, further solidifying his transition into Rallys, and Rosa Romero in an ambitious 10th pasition overall, making her the winner in the women’s category and 3rd in the 450cc category. A new success for the “Red Army” which continues to be unstoppable in its preparation for Dakar 2018.
Gerard Farrés (@gerardfarres): “I am ecstatic with my victory. The second day we attacked and came out in first place, although we were very lucky to get away from the rain, the riders in the back had to suffer so much! Opening the track in these conditions was very good for us, and the best part is that we performed wonderfully, with barely any mistakes despite it being really complicated. It took me a little to adapt to the feedback of the enduro bike, as we were coming from training and Merzouga Rally on the Rally bike, and it wasn’t until the 4th stage that I really felt comfortable with the bike, and it showed in the final result. The batle with Svitko was brutal, he brought out my best riding! We get along really well and I didn’t doubt to stop and help him out, last year it was him stopping to help me and that is above all competition. I had lots of fun on the track and I am really happy to bring this new success to the team.”
Iván Cervantes (@IvanCervantes25): “I arrived at Hellas Rally literally 2 hours before the start of the prologue. I had just finished in Merzouga when I jumped straight to Lalin to race the Spanish Enduro Championship and from there, with tight schedules and plane after plane towards Greece to get back on the bike and set off with barely enough time to get dressed… I am very satisfied with this result, a third place in stage 3 despite being on the Rally bike, and a great 4th overall in this race with such stressful navigation, it was really tough and incredibly easy to make to make small mistakes which proved very costly in the end. I felt very strong and I am very, very happy. I truly loved Hellas, with lots of hours on the bike and difficult specials, and it was useful to go even faster while keeping ckeck of the navigation. It was unfortunate for Dani to crash, we rode the whole race hand in hand and worked together very well, I am sure he will recover soon.”
Dani Oliveras (@danioliveras_21): “I really liked the race, the passages were spectacular. I had a really great time on the bike, and that showed in the results, always among the best and surrounded by Gerard and Iván in the Top 5, so that was fantastic for the team. Racking up these kilometres on the Rally bike was good for us, although its weight slowed us down in the slower sections. The worst part was my crash on stage 6. I hit a rock while checking on the roadbook and went flying with the bad luck of cracking my collarbone and hurting my hands. I tried to continue, but after some kilometres, I decided to stop taking any risks. It is frustrating but I want to keep the positive side and the great race we have rode as a team, in a few days I will be recovered and back on the gas.”
Rosa Romero (@RosaRomeroFont): “Hellas was my first race of the season after Dakar. The first stages I kept very calm to try to get back into the rhythm and not put too much stress into my shoulder, which has been on and off since January. The terrain was very good, with a lot of grip in some specials, which has allowed us to race with confidence, although an issue with the rear gas tank had me very cautious to be able to finish the specials and not abandoning. I had a great time and I got better as the days went by, so this 10th place feels great and encourages me to give my best for the rest of the season.”
2017 HELLAS RALLY RAID OVERALL CLASSIFICATION
1º Gerard Farrés 22:47:59
2º Stefan Svitko + 00:04:54
3º Ondreg Klymciw + 01:00:07
4º Iván Cervantes + 01:44:44
13º Rosa Romero + 03:20:47
Photos: Hellas Rally Raid, Xrepo, Actiongraphers
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Multinational company specialized in manufacturing and commercialization of energy generation systems. HIMOINSA has nine productive centers in Spain, USA, Brazil, Argentina, France, India and China, and eleven commercial subsidiaries in Argentina, Panama, Dominican Republic, Portugal, Angola, United Kingdom, Germany, Poland, Singapore, Dubai and South Africa. With more than 1.000 employees, the company has supplied electricity-generating devices and lighting towers to important international projects across all five continents.
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