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5 Jan 2017

Belarus’ Sergei Vyazovich one spot off overall podium after Dakar Stage 3

MINSK, 5 January (BelTA) – Belarusian truck racer Sergei Vyazovich has successfully cleared the third stage of the 2017 Dakar Rally taking up fourth in the overall standings, BelTA learned from Belarusian mobile carrier velcom, a technical partner of the MAZ-SPORTavto team.

The 199km special stage of the third leg of the rally consisted of two sections. The mountainous section was particularly challenging as it took the racers to an altitude of nearly 5,000 meters above sea level. The Belarusian drivers successfully withstood the altitude differences. Before the rally, they spent some time in special altitude test chambers.

Sergei Vyazovich clocked the best time of 2h51m among the Belarusian racers losing 5m30s to the stage leader, Russia's Eduard Nikolaev. After Dakar’s third leg, the Belarusian rally raid driver has moved from sixth to fourth overall, 5m off the leader.

“In the third stage we had some navigation issues. We simply got lost. Navigator Pavel Garanin managed to get us back on track, so we saved time and outstripped Russia’s Dmitry Sotnikov. The high altitude did not affect us much after the night in the altitude test chambers,” Sergei Vyazovich said.

Alexander Vasilevsky finished Stage 3 in 11th clocking 3h4m, 18m off Eduard Nikolaev. The Belarusian racer climbed to 15th overall losing 35 minutes to the leader.

Alexei Vishnevsky came in 14th. He cleared the stage in 3h13m and now sits in 18th place overall in the truck category.

The fourth stage of the 2017 Dakar Rally will take the racers to Bolivia. Its 416km selective section is expected to be one of the greatest challenges of this year’s edition of the rally. The racers will have no time to relax driving at high altitude in the tricky dunes.

The MAZ-SPORTavto team take part in the Dakar Rally for the sixth time. Alfa-Bank and velcom are the team’s partners.

The 2017 Dakar Rally is running across Argentina, Bolivia and Paraguay from 2 to 14 January 2017. The racers will cover a distance of some 9,000km. A total of 50 trucks are competing in the 2017 event.

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