After completing all the necessary pre-start procedures the day before, the athletes crossed
the start line at the Fenix Rally in Tunisia this Sunday. A large number of participants
embarked on a seven-day challenge in the Sahara Desert, and on the first day they not only
had to cross the official start podium of the rally, but also two special stages. In total,
participants covered 577 kilometers on Sunday, of which 107 km were speed sections.
Athletes said that the organizers took care of a difficult challenge from the first kilometers.
CFMOTO RACING TEAM rider Antanas Kanopkinas spoke after the finish that some of the
competitors were already facing technical problems in the first section, which was only 25
kilometers long: "An interesting day. The first stage was on the beach, so the sand was very
viscous and the machinery were heating. We heard that the other participants had the
variator belts broken - we managed to save them, but we changed them immediately after
the speed section."
Another team racer, Adomas Gančierius, agreed with Antanas and said that the main task of
this speed section was to keep the belt in one piece, as it had to undergo extremely heavy
loads due to viscous surface: "The temperature sometimes reached more than a hundred
degrees, which is already a dangerous limit when the belt can explode. So I drove as calmly
Physical and navigational challenges
Speaking about the second speed section on Sunday, which began after more than 350
kilometers liaison after the finish of the first section, A. Kanopkinas spoke of a completely
different terrain. The first part of the section consisted of gravel roads, where it was
possible to drive at maximum speed, and in the second part there were small dunes, only a
meter high, but there were many of them.
"It was a very difficult part physically, maximally laborious. If I had to ride in such dunes all
day, I wouldn't imagine how someone would be taking me off the ATV," A. Kanopkinas joked
after the finish, saying that he was satisfied with the result, and that he would increase the
pace little by little in the coming days.
Speaking about the section with dunes, A. Gančierius also mentioned that bigger navigation
challenges had started here and he was satisfied that he managed to overcome them
without any mistakes. Both athletes said they are still adjusting some ATV settings after
each speed section in order to discover the most appropriate setup for the rally.
After the first day, A. Gančierius is third among the ATVs, and he is only 14 seconds behind
the second place. A. Kanopkinas ranks fourth after the first two speed sections.
On Monday, participants will be greeted by a 169-kilometer special stage and just under 50
kilometers of liaison. For the next four days, participants will live in the same bivouac, so
they will have to cover more special stage kilometers and fewer liaison distance all these