URUMQI June 8 (Xinhua) -- The 2018 Taklimakan Rally kicked off its 200km-long fourth stage Thursday around the Yadan landform.
The stage proved challenging to many racers who lost their way on the complicated track. The dust made navigation difficult and many racers and pilots had trouble finding reference points in the landscape.
With the help of ace pilot Liao Min, Han Wei won the stage and the "Golden Helmet". Han Wei is the favorite to win the overall championship, and showed great composure to adjust his tire pressure in time to ensure that he finished the stage comfortably ahead of his competitors. Han Wei took first place in the overall standings.
It was a difficult day for the rest of the field and many racers commented on difficulties in navigating the track. "Today's track was a vexing issue, it was a tough day, especially for the pilots, there were so many uncertain tracks, every judgment and every choice was important," defending champion Christian Lavieille said.
In the motorcycle section, the champion of the 2017 Taklimakan Rally, Spanish racer Armand Hernandez, finally found his place in the competition and won the "Golden Helmet" to move up to the first place in the overall standings.
"This is the first stage in which I didn't get into any trouble," Hernandez said. "The biggest difficulty lied in choosing the heading, with so many wheel ruts on the road; it was so difficult to choose the right one," said Hernandez, who also noted that the heat and the terrain combined to make it a difficult stage that tested his stamina.
Shi Yong, who had a fantastic performance in the third stage, ran into a blind ditch and had a fall. "I just followed the wheel ruts on the road to finish the rest (of the) track. If the stage was a bit longer, it would be a bigger problem for me," Shi Yong said.
After this stage, the 2018 Taklimakan Rally campsite moved to Hami, where racers will prepare for the next stage.