De Mevius 3rd, Alphand remains unrewarded. In the morning, 87 cars started stage nine in Sabha today. 585 kilometres of which were 567 kilometres special stage had to be covered before the participants eventually reached the finish at Zilla. As...
De Mevius 3rd, Alphand remains unrewarded.
In the morning, 87 cars started stage nine in Sabha today. 585 kilometres of which were 567 kilometres special stage had to be covered before the participants eventually reached the finish at Zilla. As it was expected, navigation turned out to be difficult. A large number of crossings and junctions called for dexterous navigation of the co-pilots. An uneven, hard track with squared volcanic rocks put to the test in the same way wheels and shock-absorbers of the cars and as a result, quite a number of punctures occurred.
At the beginning, power was in demand for 250 kilometres. The first section of the route allowed to drive at full speed, and both BMW X5 pilots Gregoire de Mevius and Luc Alphand with an average speed of more than 145 km/h pushed on hard with their Biturbo-Diesels. Luc Alphand drove excellently and led the classification of today until control point three, with Stephane Peterhansel (Mitsubishi Pajero Evo) 3:18 min. behind and 144 kilometres to go for the finish. Shortly after, his successful performance was stopped by some sharp stones. The French, same way as team colleague De Mevius, was slowed down by two punctures, which summed up to a delay of 15 minutes. Alphand finished 10th with 13:45 min. after the winner of today, Ari Vartanen, and finally remained unrewarded. Gregoire de Mevius with another well-balanced performance arrived forth position in the classification today and the Belgian keeps his third place in total.
With big relief the X-raid team received the message that Kenjiro Shinozuka (Nissan) is no longer at risk of his life after the serious accident. Team manager Sven Quandt: "We were very shocked by the accident and we were worried about the physical condition of Kenjiro and his co-pilot Thierry Delli-Zotti. We all wish both of them a fast and complete recovery."
At stage ten tomorrow the co-pilots will be in the limelight. On the route between Zilla and Sarir (554 kilometres with 521 kilometres special stage) no GPS navigation is allowed so that the result and choice of the most suitable way mainly depends on the skilful navigation of the co-pilots. Using satellite-based navigation at the Dakar, by the way, was allowed no earlier than 1992.