08-01-05 After the problems of the last days it went, in spite of a short night, super again today. This morning at 6.00 h the team arrived in Tidjikja. After a meal and a few hours of rest, the Ginaf was ready for the start of another heavy (9th)...
After the problems of the last days it went, in spite of a short night, super again today. This morning at 6.00 h the team arrived in Tidjikja. After a meal and a few hours of rest, the Ginaf was ready for the start of another heavy (9th) stage. The starting order was the arrival order in Tichit, So Wuf, Edwin and Bas left for Atar as 38th truck. At CP1 they clocked a 6th time, at CP2 7th and CP3 an 11th time.
Tonight at 9.30 h Edwin told us by phone: "It again went fine today. It was a reasonably heavy stage today. We crossed a lot of different things today: rocks, sand, dunes, you name it. One time, we almost got stuck, but driving forwards and backwards a few times was luckily enough to get out. With a nice 10th position we are very satisfied. Tomorrow it is a rest day, then we have time to prepare the trucks. There where hardly any technical problems, except for the blown tyre in stage 5. The Caterpillar roars like a lion, and we are preparing us for the second half of the rally full of confindence". GRP finished in 10th position, 24th overall!
Today it is a rest day. Well... for most of the teams there won't be much rest. Almost everywhere the mechanics are busy (p)repairing. At the De Rooij team, all leaf springs where changed by way of precaution and at Kamaz, all axles where completely dismounted! In spite of the 10 hours penalty they received from the organisation yesterday, the atmosphere in the GRP camp is very good. Off course, they also did some tinkering. Nothing really was broken down, but the steering joints and drive shafts where replaced by way of precaution. These where the parts that where withholding us from a top-ten position last year. From Edwin we heard that today was the first time since ten days they where able to take a shower! The trucks are now fully ready for the second, and probably heaviest part of the rally.
10-01-05 15.31 h (Dutch time)
Wuf at CP1 in 4th postion. Notice also Govaere (Ginaf) in 8th position!
11-01-05, 11.15 h (Dutch time)
We just had contact by phone with Edwin. This was his story: "At the beginning of the stage it went superb! Between the start and CP1 we had a flat tyre, and in spite of that we where in 4th position at CP1. Without the flat tyre we could have had an even better time, so this again proves the potential of the truck. After CP1, we had another flat tyre. After changing the tyre, we got stuck in a dip of the dunes. It took an hour to get the truck out. After that, we saw that the protection plate which is mounted underneath the bumper (between the bumper and the front axle) was dented so bad that it blocked the steering rods. We had no choice than to dismount the plate, because of which everything in front of the front axle becomes exposed, and therefore more vulnerable. This became clear when 50 kms onwards, the height regulating rods of the suspension system broke down, causing the front of the truck to sink downwards, making it impossible to drive on. After an emergency repair, we could move on, but we had to take it easy. In the meantime we passed CP2, lost about 3 hours and it also went dark. The last big dunes had thus be crossed in the dark, which is a disaster. It takes 3 times as much time. At 1.30 h this morning we arrived in the bivouac. In the meantime the truck is almost fixed. The mechanics are changing the hydraulic pump and then we are ready to roll again. We didn't have much sleep tonight, and it will be a tough day again today. The assistance team has a 1000 km trip to cover, so it will be late again tonight!"
-ginaf rally power-