The newest event of RBI Sport was no doubt a great success, bringing new terrains and new emotions
The inaugural edition of Fenix Rally in Tunisia offered new terrains and new emotions to the competitors, which usually everybody sees on the routes of Breslau Poland and Balkan Offroad. The newest event of RBI Sport and especially a brain child of Alexander Kovatchev took place in the middle of March in the region of Douz – the city labeled as “the door to Sahara”.
Tunisia welcomed Fenix warmly and with full support from the national and the local authorities. The race was under the partnership of the Tunisian Automobile Federation (FTA), the Tunisian Motorcycle Federation (FTM), the National Automobile Club of Tunisia and the country’s National Tourist Office. The police, the National Guard office and the army guaranteed full support for a successful and safe rally. But there weren’t any concerns as the local people was more than happy to have such a world class event just in front of their homes and everybody offered help to the competition.
Additional, the organizers have made sure that the rally will be held in strict compliance with all anti-epidemic measures and turned the Fenix Rally into a Covid-free zone with organizing a sanitary bubble in the city of Douz, strictly applying sanitary protocol, approved by the authorities.
Six racing days and 10 timed sections were in the menu of the rally, including a marathon stage, which took all the participants in a desert camp without any help from their assistance crews. Over 1000 kilometers against the clock and perfect mixture of sands, dunes and fast tracks were combined with technical navigation and perfect road books. Fortunately, there weren’t serious accidents during the rally and almost all the participants reached the finish in Douz.
Exactly 103 racing vehicles were under the start arch of Fenix Rally: 18 bikes and quads, 37 cars and 48 SSVs. With riders and pilots from almost 15 European countries + the host state the race began in full throttle and after 6 days were crowned the winners of this amazing first edition.
In the car open class the desert rally veteran Jerome Pelichet showed what it means to have long years of experience in cross country competitions. The Frenchman took 6 from 6 stage wins, and won the race with unbelievable advance of 1 hour and 47 minutes to his nearest competitor.
The second place went to Agostino Rizzardi and his exotic Porsche proto. The Italian made very good progress during the rally, and pushed in the last stages, to climb on the podium. But even more interesting was the situation with Adam Bomba (BMW) from Poland, who completed the podium just in the last 110kms stage, beating the Bulgarian Dessislav Slavchev (Mercedes).
In the car limited category, it was Laurent Aubouex from France (Mercedes) who won the title in front of the Polish pilot Grzegorz Brochocki (Toyota) and the German Fritz Becker (Toyota). As the teams from this class couldn’t compete with the powerful T1 protos, they showed that you can take such a long rally with a conventional off-road machine, if you have enough courage and are smart on the racetrack.
Fenix Rally also gave special trophies for historic cars, divided in two groups: produced before 31.12.1990 and machines, assembled between 1.1.1991 and 31.12.1999. In the first group, with his 13th place overall in the open class, the prize took Yvan-Pierre Dard (FRA). In the second it was Teunis Stam (NLD), 4th in the rankings. Both pilots counted on modified Toyota Land Cruiser 80 vehicles.
In the most crowded class – those of the SSVs, it was Lionel Baud, who took the maiden victory of Fenix Rally. The pilot from France took 5 from 6 stage wins, behind the wheel of the powerful PH Sport Zephyr, leaving no chance to his opponents with over one hour advance at the finish. Second in the “petite” class became the driver from Netherlands Pelle Moens as Lithuanian Dalius Olechnavicius completed the overall top 3. Both pilots counted on Can-Am vehicles.
In the bike class, it was the Dutchman Bram van der Wouden (Sherco), who eliminated the competition of two French riders: Lionel Mansuy (Sherco) and Romain Muraton (Husaberg). Van der Wouden was very constant and this paid off with more than 2 hours difference with the closest followers. Mansuy, placed 2nd, also won the special “veteran cup” award, dedicated to riders and drivers, aged above 50 years, who made the best progress among the top 3 of all the categories.
Finally, in the ATV class, it was Lithuanian domination and internal affair, as Romualdas Karuzis (Can-Am) took the victory of Fenix Rally 2021 and his compatriot Adomas Gancierius (CFMOTO) who get the “silver medal”. The third place was for the Polish rider Mikolaj Krysik (Can-Am).
Last but not least, Fenix Rally 2021 offered the adventure Discovery category, who gave the opportunity of the 61 entering teams to discover the world of the desert racing in guided tours without the pressure of the chronometer. And it’s clear that a lot of participants already thinking to have the next race in Tunisia in the competition category.
Now all the eyes are turned to the next big competition of RBI Sport – the legendary Breslau rally, planned for the end of June in Poland. With already over 220 registered vehicles for the cross country and extreme categories, as well as 20 for the Discovery group three months before the start, the Europe’s biggest and oldest off-road race sounds like epic event. And it will be, for sure!