Stage victory for Luc Alphand Who ever does not want to eat dust had better drive in the lead. That is obviously what Luc Alphand thought on today's 12th stage from Bobo Dioulasso (Burkina Faso) to Bamako (Mali). The fastest of all competitors,...
Stage victory for Luc Alphand
Who ever does not want to eat dust had better drive in the lead. That is obviously what Luc Alphand thought on today's 12th stage from Bobo Dioulasso (Burkina Faso) to Bamako (Mali). The fastest of all competitors, he drove his X-raid BMW X5 on the 213-kilometre long special stage and crossed the finishline 1:28 min faster than second-placed Louis Schlesser.
The Frenchman, who is always in a good mood, beamed at the finish: "A wonderful day. Our car ran perfectly and driving was a lot of fun today. It was a pretty fast stage overall where we could use the power of our BMW bi-turbo diesel. It was pretty damn dusty though, and that made it dangerous because you could easily overlook a number of brutal potholes. But thank God we made it through well. Last year I was able to drive to my first stage victory ever (14th stage) and I'm happy that it happened once again today. My thanks to the team - they've worked unbelievably hard here and they've given me a superbly prepared car. I hope we can drink a beer this evening to our great day with our sponsor CORONA EXTRA."
Team colleague Grégoire de Mévius came in 12th in the day's standings with a deficit of 18:52 min from Alphand: "Congratulations to Luc, He did a great job. It was impossible for me to make any ground today. I left the start 11th and had three racing trucks in front of me. They stir up a lot more dust than the cars, and the visibility on the course was close to zero in parts. It was simply impossible to pass."
If today's stage was somewhat untypical for the Dakar, 'lovers' of more difficult conditions will get their money's worth again on tomorrow's 730-km stage. It will lead towards the north into the Sahel-zone from Bamako to Ayoun El Atrous. The 478-km special stage is new to the Dakar. Various changes in direction will demand error-free navigation, and relatively high speeds are expected. Therefore perfect conditions for the X-raid team's BMW X5's.