The third day of the Tunisia Desert Challenge resulted in a serious selection in every class. In the cars, the winner of the day Philippe Lambilliotte was very strong while Karoly Fazekas was the fastest in the truck.
Monday's test started with just under twenty kilometers of fast track, after which the first dunes appeared. Many participants lost a lot of time there. The second half of the stage also went through long sand tracks, but things went a little more smoothly for most drivers there.
The bikes got through the difficult dunes the easiest in the first part of the test. The tempo was therefore free for them. Tomas de Gavardo was fastest in the third stage, hitting a gap of almost six minutes on Duong Nguyen Khoa. Mario Patrao lost some ground after his win on Sunday, finishing third in just under ten minutes. Gwen Backx was the first to finish, but still lost thirteen minutes of time. KTM rider Joris Van Dyck finished the day in fifth place 17 minutes behind.
In the cars the gaps were huge on the second day and there was also a big setback for Sunday's winner. Pedro de Uriarte and Olivier Imschoot stopped early in the stage with a broken differential. The front runners in the cars lost an extreme amount of time as a result, but managed to make it to the finish line despite not having completed the entire test. With a lot of penalty time, they may still be able to start again on Tuesday. Philippe Lambilliotte therefore became the winner of the day, he took a big hit. At the finish he was 37 minutes ahead of Jean Pascal Besson. Yvan Pierre Dard finished in third place ahead of Gaetan Ge. Erwin Imschoot finished fifth with the Toyota, although he conceded more than an hour. SSVs In the SSVs, the day victory was for Stephane Chambon, but the differences were a lot smaller. Chambon completed the stage for three hours and thirty minutes and was only twelve seconds ahead of Kees Box at the finish. Roberto Tonetti finished just over a minute behind in third. Martin van den Brink finished fourth ahead of Davy Huguet. Gert Huzink was also in good shape initially, but took a half hour penalty due to a missed waypoint. He didn't mind that much, fun is paramount with the leader of the Riwald Dakar Team. “I am mainly here to have fun, but it is also nice and useful to make meters in the dunes here,” said Huzink. “Today we had wonderful dunes here in Tunisia. That is why we are with a buggy, a wonderful day to frolic through those dunes. We can learn a lot, my navigator also learns a lot here. But in the end the fun is the most important thing and today was a beautiful day for that. With such a buggy you can fly through those small, short dunes quite easily. So we did enjoy it.”
Eimbert Timmermans was heading for victory, but Hungarian success came at the last minute. Karoly Fazekas set the fastest time and, with almost seven minutes, was well below the time of Mercedes driver Timmermans. Teammate Paul Verheyden had also provided assistance with another car, which caused Timmermans to get stuck in a dune while driving back. “When I got out, Paul had just arrived. Then it took us about fifteen minutes to get out again. Then we drove to the break together. Timmermans really enjoyed the trial and Tunisia as a whole: “I really don't know these kinds of dunes! It doesn't look like Morocco, let alone Argentina. There they are high, so very high. Mega high, you have to have real power to get up there. Not here, here they are mostly soft.” Verheyden came third at the finish and behind that the holes were big. David Giovannetti finished fourth 44 minutes behind Paolo Alabria at over an hour. Dave Berghmans was also classified at over an hour while Peter van Delm retired with technical problems.
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