Dakar: KTM stage 12 report

Only Geographical Changes. When the twin-engine plane lands on the red ground strip, suddenly you discover major changes: all is different in comparison with the previous day. First the colours, red for the ground and green for the vegetation,...

Only Geographical Changes.

When the twin-engine plane lands on the red ground strip, suddenly you discover major changes: all is different in comparison with the previous day. First the colours, red for the ground and green for the vegetation, but also people: until in Mauritania and Mali, clothing was of the same tonality of the desert, yellow-beige, light brown, as mimetic. Here in Guinea people shows incredible colour variations and contrasts. People also shows more, different enthusiasm, more happiness. That's the apparent, various reality. Coming from the sky all that changes comes all of a sudden, instead for the competitors of the today stage they comes slowly, gently. But for all of them all this shifts had also a different meaning. This one of a new variety of difficulties to be faced.

For example. Early morning Carlo De Gavardo went down in the water when crossing a river. The Chilean lost more than a half a hour in a singular misfortune could not occur in Mauritania or Mali. Same story for Ullevalseter, and one hour is gone. Giovanni Sala, third overall, lost almost forty minutes to repair a bended brake disk. The 2006 Dakar is reaching the southern part of his road, running very near to the equator, three days to go, but the strain level is still high.

The only task available for Cyril Depres was to attack. In fact, after the riders reached the border between Mali and Guinea and the special test started, the KTM Gauloises "boss" increased the pressure. French last year's winner passed for first at both CP1 and CP2 but, due to the engaging navigation over too much dusty pists, he did not resolve to distance his main rivals for more than two minutes. After 368 kilometres of special test Despres was the winner, less than 2 minute ahead Marc Coma, less than three before Chris Blais. No big changes in the overall standings, Blais going up the fourth position and Marc Coma still defending his leadership and his confident feeling.

Jean De Azevedo was second for a long time during the special test, confirming the special attitude of the brasilian in this kind of tracks, so similar to some ones of South America, and closed the special test in a good fourth position. Red Bull KTM Team-mate Chris Blais finished third overall, but in this case the exploit is simply due to the incredible progression of the American in this final part of the race. Thinking of De Azevedo, and having a look also to the exploits of Norwegian Pal Ullevalseter and Alain Duclos, maybe it is now time to remember that the three representative riders are a part of the 62 people that registered to the KTM Customer Rally Service Package in order to accede to the best racing formula for a private competitor.

-ktm-

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Series Dakar
Drivers Giovanni Sala , Marc Coma , Chris Blais