Gerard de Rooy keeps 2nd place and breaks away from de Azevedo and Kabirov. Two consecutive good days for Jan de Rooy, he's back in the top-10 of the overall league. The stage to Tan-Tan, a settlement situated between rocks and stones on the...
Gerard de Rooy keeps 2nd place and breaks away from de Azevedo and Kabirov.
Two consecutive good days for Jan de Rooy, he's back in the top-10 of the overall league.
The stage to Tan-Tan, a settlement situated between rocks and stones on the edge of the Atlantic -- so more or less the end of the world -- was again a stage to be defeated by and a lot of the knights of the desert were! Certainly not the most inexperienced competitors that ran into problems. Men like Giovanni Sala, Vatanen, Peterhansel and Mike Biasion as well as former victress Jutta Kleinschmidt suffered damage that was hard to repair. The special went over a fast and washboard-like track, with a lot of stones so if they wanted to keep their vehicles undamaged, they had to crawl along so now and then.
"Besides, it was tremendous dusty. If you're driving in the front like I did, it doesn't cause a lot of inconvenience but if you're more at the back like my father, the dust is just as dangerous as the treacherous ground. If you don't fix all your attention on the track it can be fatal," tells the youngest de Rooy just after the 351 kilometers long special.
A superb 2nd place behind Tchaguine whom he had to let go only during the last, very fast part of the track. It was another proof that this 23-years old Dutchman is not to be sneezed at, which was already stated by the Brazilian de Azevedo in an interview yesterday: "There's a real battle between the DAF and the Kamaz trucks," he said on arrival in the bivouac.
For the time being it's still 1-1, as De Rooy did have to give up 3.26 minutes to the Russian crack but he also broke away from Kabirov who lost 6.43 minutes and de Azevedo, who needed 9.46 minutes more than the winner of the special.
Karl Loprais lost 14.36 minutes and Jan de Rooy, who took a splendid 6th place, lost 15.44 minutes. Also surprising was the performance of "nephew" Hans Stacey. He finished 7th at 20.20 minutes.
"The truck is still in a perfect condition after the night of repairs two days ago. It was really dreadful, all the dust of the vehicles in front of me. Sometimes it's really impossible to overtake. That's way I'm glad that I'm back in the top-10. That really makes a difference. The less competitors in front of you, the better you perform," tells Jan while smoking a cigarette, which is still allowed over there.
For the rest Gerard still puts his performances into perspective. Later in the evening he comes back to his second place: "In fact it was not our day, too many stones, hard grounds and before we left we had worked all night on the vehicles. We suffered no damage today and the truck kept well. To be honest, that's a compliment for our team," and continues roguishly: "maybe the team will be rewarded when we have our meeting with the sand."
In the overall league, Tchaguine keeps command with a 6.14 minutes advantage on Gerard de Rooy. De Azevedo takes the 3rd place at 26.23 minutes and Kabirov the 4th one at 28.26 minutes. Old-stager Loprais takes the 5th place with his Tatra at 58.16 minutes. Jan de Rooy moved up again and he now takes the 8th place, being 1.47.35 hour behind the winner of the last two Dakar rallies. Hans Bekx, who took the 12th place in today's stage just behind the GINAF from Wuf van Ginkel, is on the 12th place and Hans Stacey makes a great leap forward to the 15th place.
So now there are four DAF trucks within the first 15 of the overall standing.
The Spanish motorcyclists showed again that they have to be reckoned with for the final victory. Nani Roma and Isidre Esteve Pujol drove in front all day long. At the end Roma finished just 2.25 minutes ahead of his country-fellow. The surprising Australian Caldecott finished 3rd at 3.41 minutes, Despres 4th, Sainct arrived 8th, Meoni 9th. Erik Verhoef finally finished 27th in the strong field. Giovanni Sala crashed after 117 kilometres and had to bid farewell to the rally, suffering from a thoracic trauma and a few broken ribs.
In the overall standing Pujol is on the lead, followed by Roma at 1.54 minutes, Despres is on the 3rd place at 2.37 minutes and Meoni on the 4th at 4.32 minutes. Sainct takes the 8th place at 14.31 minutes behind Pujol.
Best Dutchman is Eric Verhoef. He takes the 28th place at 1.27.08 hour; second Dutchman is Henk Vercoelen on the 38th place.
Last year's winner Hiroshi Masuoka was fastest in the car league. Despite the lead of the Scottish McRae at checkpoint 1 after 58 kilometers, Masuoka left his mark on the stage, certainly after many of his rivals slipped up. As well Peterhansel as his teammate Mike Biasion suffered damage and the same happened to Ari Vatanen and Jutta Kleinschmidt.
Masuoka finished 2.57 minutes ahead of Giniel de Villiers, McRae took the 3rd place at 6.41 minutes, Peterhansel was 4th at 7.52 minutes, and De Mevius and Alphand took the next places.
In the overall standing, Masuoka is on the lead, followed by Peterhansel at 6.40 minutes. De Villiers takes the 3rd place, Alphand is fourth, de Mevius 5th, newcomer McRae 6th and Schlesser 7th.
Tomorrow's stage goes to Atar. It will be the longest one: 1055 kilometers including a 701 kilometers long special. The competitors will leave at night and will cross the Mauritanian border. The Special start in Mauritania. A lot of dunes and the checkpoint at the finish will stay open all night . . . . .
To be continued . . . .