Passing Through Dinosaur Valley
The toughest part of the first half of the rally taken on the second day of marathon ETAP-2 is a route cutting through the heart of the southern Gobi desert. This one day was a real ordeal with a hot wind blowing along desolate dry arroyos. In the motorcycle division, Ojima KTM did well in this ETAP ranking in first position at 5 hours 45 minutes 09 seconds and was also overall No. 1 in the motorcycle division. He was followed by Korea’s top rider # 19 Ryu Myung Gul on a KTM with only a 9 minutes gap in times. Next came, # 20 Choi Jung Geun on a KTM in third place with a 20 minute time gap followed by Mongolian competitors. This three-way Japanese, Korean and Mongolian battle is likely to prove very interesting!
Things are Heating up in the Automotive Division!
At the end of the second day, top position and first place in the automotive division was held by #108 Saruulkhangal / Khatanbaatar in their Can-Am 900cc turbo 2-seater buggy. Third place was also taken by # 107 in this same machine which is earning upper rally positions. Second place was taken by TOYOTA Tacoma showing the overwhelming superiority of Mongolian drivers in the auto division. However, the # 103 Nakano/Nakano pair in their TOYOTA Hi_Lux took seventh place, followed by the # 102 Matsuno / Tashiro pair in their SUBARU Forester ranking in 8th place, and then by the # 100 Sugawara / Takahashi pair in their HINO. This time around it was particularly remarkable that these top-ranked teams were all non-penalties showing perfect race management among many other competitors suffering target penalties with short liaison setup times. The # 8 Fukuoka HONDA that had a good start in Etap 1 suffered a big delay due to losing their check card and navigation mount problems but can be expected to make a good recovery.
Rider #5 Mami Idegawa on a KTM is grabbing a real feel for the rally taking 16th place in the motorcycle division and 25th place overall. Rider #18 Mikami on a KTM is fully enjoying the rally while taking pictures along the way!