Drop-out of Gregoire de Mevius - complete team attention on Alphand.
It was shortly before 9 o'clock local time when BMW X5-team Gregoire de Mevius and co-pilot Alain Guehennec arrived at the Siwa bivouac - seven hours after the day winner and towed by a service-truck of the X-raid Team. At kilometre 249 during stage 12 of the bending course at Siwa - Siwa, bad-luck befell the Belgian/French team: "Driving uphill, I followed another track when suddenly a brutal blow hit the vehicle and we came to a complete standstill. First I did not want to believe it, but we had crashed into a rock. In the diffuse light the light rock was by no means clearly visible in the bright colours of the sand", an emotionally moved de Mevius explained, almost bursting out into tears.
"As a result of the accident, the steering gear of the BMW X5 was destroyed and the chassis got twisted on the left side that repair was beyond consideration", team leader Sven Quandt stated at the bivouac and continued: "Dropping out with such a good perspective of reaching a top place on the platform is painful for the whole team, but this is in fact what the nature of racing is like." Ranking 3rd place in the total classification, de Mevius at the Dakar Rally 2003 now has to strike sail.
Team colleague Luc Alphand on the second BMW X5 reached at a seventh place in the day classification and is now 13th in total. As he still has good prospects in winning the category of diesel-powered four-wheel vehicles, all strength and hope of the X-raid team now focus on him. During the last stages the French has already shown that more good results can well be expected.
As an Ocean of Dunes where under normal circumstances nobody dares to venture, the organizers of the 25th edition of the Dakar named the territory which awaits the participants at its 13th stage from Siwa to Dakhla. 657 kilometres need to be covered of which 567 km are classification. "Cathedral Dunes", more than 100 metres high, will be another main challenge for all teams before they will be lead through those typical limestone formations of the "White Desert" at the second part of the stage.