REST DAY - NOUAKCHOTT ANDRE DESSOUDE'S JOURNAL 8th January 2006- Nouakchott Today's rest day took place in the Mauritanian capital city of Nouakchott. A perfect opportunity for AndrÃ© Dessoude to give an update on his team, at the mid-race ...
REST DAY - NOUAKCHOTT
ANDRE DESSOUDE'S JOURNAL
8th January 2006- Nouakchott
Today's rest day took place in the Mauritanian capital city of Nouakchott. A perfect opportunity for André Dessoude to give an update on his team, at the mid-race point.
"First of all, I am very satisfied with Carlos Sousa's race. His Nissan Navara is working very well ; it is competitive and most importantly, reliable. Unfortunately, our rivals have made a lot of progress since the last Dakar, while, on our side, we have not had the financial means to evolve, so the gap is even wider than before. As always, Carlos is putting in an intelligent and tactical performance, with the intention of going through to the end. He is currently ninth, and his car is in very good condition : everything's perfect.
Unfortunately, we lost our second Pickup yesterday. Jun Mitsuhashi had a few problems with his brakes. And in a gutter, his car rolled. They were able to reach the bivouac, but, the safety roll bar was bent, and we cannot let Jun and Jacky continue the race under those conditions. We are very disappointed, as we would have like to have seen this team continue to run.
Benoît Rousselot, like many others, had a lot of problems in yesterday's stage. But he is still in a good position in the overall classification, and his car is still quite fresh, which is important in the Production category. We still hope to be able to win this class. Benoît and his co-driver Sylvain Poncet get on exceptionally well. It is very important to me that there should be a good understanding between team-mates; it is the only way to set good times.
Our second big disappointment is the retirement of Paul Belmondo, and I am very sorry for him, as he carries absolutely no responsibility in his accident. He had put in a faultless race, and was on track to set a great performance. Paul was following our guidance perfectly, and his game plan was excellent.
During yesterday's stage, René Metge was, as always, a good Samaritan. He stopped to help an injured biker, and the race direction asked him to remain on the sport, which he did without a second thought. Afterwards, he and Bernard wore themselves out, as they got stuck three or four times. The whole team is unanimous in their support for René and Bernard.
Miguel Barbosa is a very talented driver, who was under great pressure on leaving Portugal. He is a Bajas champion, and this is his first rally raid. He wants to push hard, to drive quickly. We had to convince him that this was not the way to proceed, and his father, who is one of my former clients, was able to find the right words so that the message sunk in. He has had a few technical problems which have delayed him slightly in the overall classification, but his aim is to get to Dakar. The difficulties he has faced will have allowed him to gain experience, and in the future he will be able to have a more competitive car.
Our client Jacky Bourgin finished outside the set time for the Zouerat-Atar leg, and preferred not to continue, which was his choice to make.
Finally, our two Paladins are still in the race. Xu Lang, who was considered to be slightly too 'hot' has been well briefed, and is now doing well. Zhou Yong is calmer, but we have discovered that both are excellent drivers. They do not speak much English, and they are in an environment which is unfamiliar to them. Despite all that, they are able to overcome these handicaps. We are getting on well with their team-manager, Monsieur Wu, and I am very pleased with our collaboration.
To conclude, I am pleased, as all our assistance trucks are still in the race, and we have everything we need. The technicians and mechanics are all very motivated, despite the retirement of the Pickups, which hurt everyone, and that of Paul Belmondo, who is adored by the whole team due to his lack of affectation. "