This evening in Nema, just before the first riders arrived at the bivouac, the organisers announced that 'for security reasons' the 10th and 11th stages between Nema and Mopti and Mopti and Bob Dioulasso have been cancelled. Now the rallye will go...
This evening in Nema, just before the first riders arrived at the bivouac, the organisers announced that 'for security reasons' the 10th and 11th stages between Nema and Mopti and Mopti and Bob Dioulasso have been cancelled. Now the rallye will go by liaison from Nema to Bamako tomorrow and from Bamako to Bobo Dioulasso for the rest day.
In the bikes Cyril Despres was the 24th rider to leave the start line this morning and worked his way through the field to win the special. Also starting well back the South African Alfie Cox achieved a similar feat to finish second on the special at 3'24. Richard Sainct was third (at 21'39) and is second overall (3'33 behind Nani Roma) with Cox 3rd (at 28'21) and Despres 4th (at 44'54). Among those forced to retire today were the Gauloises KTM France 'water carrier' Jean Brucy and the Gauloises backed Dutch privateer Eric Verhoef, both apparently with broken collarbones.
Cyril Despres (Gauloises KTM France) 1st (in 9h34'33) 4th overall (at 44'54)
"That was a long day -- 10 hours on the bike. And in 10 hours a lot can happen. I drank my camel back dry twice, nearly ran out of petrol just before the second refuelling CP and had to fix an electrical problem. Fortunately I didn't make the same mistake as I did yesterday. Towards the end of the special the others went slightly off the route and rather than follow them I took my own way which turned to be the right one -- that was good for my confidence. For me it is not good that they have cancelled the next two specials as I am feeling fit and the shorter the distance to Dakar the less chance I have to pull back."
Alfie Cox (Gauloises KTM International) 2nd (at 3'24) 3rd overall (at 28'21)
"I started 20 minutes behind the others this morning, but despite that, when I got to the first refuelling CP there they all were! Then they left the CP and I finally caught them up on the piste around the 'Elephant Rocks'. Cyril joined us shortly after and we rode all together until nearly the end of the special.
Richard Sainct (Gauloises KTM France) 3rd (at 21'39) 2nd overall (at 3'33)
"Fortunately we spent most of the day riding together -- fortunately 'cos riding for 10 hours on your own can be a little boring! I have already ridden this stage in the opposite direction and I knew that any mistake could be very costly so I took it easy. I caught Roma up fairly early on but didn't try and overtake him -- I just sat behind him and let him do the navigation."
Fabrizio Meoni (Gauloises KTM International) 11th (at 59'53) 10th overall (at 2h42'36)
"At about 100 km from the end my navigation equipment support broke and I lost a lot of time fixing it. Everyday I go out and try my hardest but everyday something goes wrong."
Jean Louis Schlesser (Gauloises Schlesser Buggy) 4th (at 1h11'18) 3rd overall (at 2h22'28)
"It was a very long hard special but we had no particular problems. The first 200 kms that were supposed relatively fast turned out to be hard than announced -- today has been the hardest day so far. Still I'm happy with our result -- 3rd overall is pretty good especially given the pace the two 'extra-terrestrials' are going at -- they are fast everywhere."