"Today was really not our day", was the first comment of X-raid team manager Sven Quandt. After 57 kilometres of today's special from Tidjikja to Atar the first bad news came as a phone call to the team leader: Nasser Al-Attiyah had a high speed...
"Today was really not our day", was the first comment of X-raid team manager Sven Quandt. After 57 kilometres of today's special from Tidjikja to Atar the first bad news came as a phone call to the team leader: Nasser Al-Attiyah had a high speed crash and rolled over with the BMW X5.
Most important message was that driver and co-driver were ok, although co-driver Alain Guehennec requested for medical assistance. Guehennec was checked up by a doctor but apart from some bruises everything was alright with him. Due to the heavy damages of the car Al-Attiyah had to retire.
Only some kilometres more was the mileage counter running for team mate José Luis Monterde. He also rolled his BMW X5. Also driver and co-pilote were not seriously insured and after checking and repairing the car they carried forward again. Today Monterde finished with a gap of 2h56:01 to the stage winner Luc Alphand (Mitsubishi). In the overall ranking the Spaniard is on 15th place, with a deficit of 9h04:32 to leader Peterhansel.
The camp in Atar and the rest day tomorrow will give the X-raid team the opportunity to recover - men and machine. Sven Quandt, team manager for X-raid: "We knew that it would get tough starting at Mauritania and we have been happy with the performance of our team. Today we just had bad luck, but this always can happen at the Dakar, and now our entire concentration is in preparation for the last week. There is still plenty of opportunity for us to positively draw attention to ourselves. There are still several difficult stages with very, very much sand. We have an exceptional team with high motivation and... we are always optimistic."
The longest and most difficult special stage (669 km from Zouèrat to Tichit) is now behind the Dakar caravan. Now too the same goes as before - to master the remaining seven competition days. There are still a number of trials to overcome before that though. Huge sand dunes and vast dune fields will need to be crossed and tricky navigation will need to be coped with.
Here, sensitive use of the gas pedal and skilful navigation are demanded from the drivers and co-pilots. Or, in a worse case, the muscle power of the teams will be needed when a vehicle has to be shovelled or pushed out of the soft sand. The caravan continues its way on Monday, the 10th of January. A loop special (493 km) will await the competitors with sand, sand, sand ...