The standings in some categories took a huge turn on Friday on the penultimate day. The final race day is going to be interesting. The seventh stage consisted of a loop of 262 kilometers with start and finish in last night's bivouac next to the well-known filming location where the Star Wars movie was shot. During the day, the participants were again presented with a mix of slopes with some quite challenging passages every now and then. This also appeared to play a role in the various classifications during the day.
There is no stopping Mario Patrao. The Portuguese can go to the finish in saving mode, but did not exactly take it easy on Friday. After the test he was six minutes faster than Tomas de Gavardo, who has recovered. Gwen Backx finished in third place, he conceded eight minutes on Patrao. Duong Nguyen Khoa came out stronger after his setback on Thursday, finishing fourth. Joris Van Dyck completed the top five, conceding thirty minutes to the day's winner.
In the SSV class, the top three on Friday consisted entirely of Dutch participants. Jasper Versteijen took the win. “We finally managed to win a stage. In the fifth and sixth stage we kept getting lost and we lost 45 minutes. Today we started quietly so as not to make mistakes in navigating and that certainly paid off.” Versteijnen has therefore moved up to second place in the ranking of the SSVs. Martin van den Brink was second on Friday with Kees Box in third place. Richard Doux finished fourth with Roberto Tonetti in fifth.
Stephane Zosso, for a long time the closest attacker to classification leader Van den Brink, did not finish the stage on Friday.
Jean Pascal Besson was well positioned on top of the ranking, but it all went wrong on Friday. Technical problems meant that he had to be taken out of the test by the sweeper truck. As a result, he gave away the top seat for his adversaries. Vincent Thijs took the stage victory, the Fleming narrowly finished ahead of Rik van den Brink. Ronald Schoolderman is the new general classification leader in the cars after making up for around eighteen minutes on Philippe Lambilliotte on Friday. The Frenchman finished fifth behind Imre Varga.
The last stage is going to be quite exciting. Schoolderman's margin on Lambilliotte is just two minutes and seven seconds. Day winner Thijs has moved up to third place, but he is almost three hours behind.
Karoly Fazekas again had a setback with the trucks and as a result, the overall victory seems to fall in the hands of Eimbert Timmermans. The Dutchman was again more than the fastest on Friday. He was sixteen minutes faster than teammate Paul Verheyden with Paolo Calabria in third place.
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