Toughest Task at longest Stage of Dakar. It was the expected hard and stony track which strongly tossed and joggled men and machine again today. Gear boxes, suspensions as well as dreams were destroyed and as supposed the overall result was well...
Toughest Task at longest Stage of Dakar.
It was the expected hard and stony track which strongly tossed and joggled men and machine again today. Gear boxes, suspensions as well as dreams were destroyed and as supposed the overall result was well shaken one more time.
Whereas Luc Alphand managed to achieve a placing among the seven best during the last five stages, he had to be satisfied with a fourteenth position: "Yesterday already the track was enormously hard and stony, but today it seemed to be even more extreme. It was one of the most risky stages for the material of the whole rally and we had to operate extremely cautiously." Team manager Sven Quandt at the evening briefing yesterday gave out only one instruction: Getting through.
At 9:15 o’clock local time Alphand started for a 365 kilometres special stage, did not take a risk between gravel roads and dust clouds of other competitors in front and managed a straight drive until 60 kilometres in front of the finish. A leak in the steering hydraulic system had to be mended and Alphand lost about 25 minutes, before he continued and eventually finished ninth with 39:43 minutes delay on temporary day winner Miki Biasion (later punished with controversial time penalty of ten hours after illicit repairs in park-fermé). The French so far ranked eight out of 16 stages in top ten positions, finished two times second, five times seventh and one time first position (stage 14). In the overall result, Alphand is now on ninth position.
Once more it became obvious that the Dakar Rally is only finished after the last metres are done and finish ramp is reached. No wonder there is only space for one word in the minds of all Dakar-competitors: Arrival. No matter if favourite or not, everybody who has gone so far, with 8,500 kilometres in the back, with almost three weeks of permanent exertion, with two weeks sand all over in hair, clothing and minds, fears the failure in view of the finish-line. High concentration is demanded for the last 34 kilometres special stage (overall 56 km). Generally, this last competition is said to be no more than a show for the numerous spectators at Sharm El Sheik, but, as already said: The Dakar Rally is only finished after . . .