Today's Leg... There was som e new scenery for the competitors during this tenth timed stage, around Nema. New colours, new textures, new exigencies. Leaving the Sahara and its dunes behind, the rally pace definitely increased. Heading into...
There was som e new scenery for the competitors during this tenth timed stage, around Nema. New colours, new textures, new exigencies. Leaving the Sahara and its dunes behind, the rally pace definitely increased.
Heading into the Sahel savanna, the sandy track wound between rocks and vegetation. During today's stage, there were few major changes in the classification of the Team Dessoude cars. Miguel Barbosa was the fastest among them, setting the thirteenth-fastest time despite a few small incidents. There was a lot of dust on the stage, and overtaking proved to be complicated and risky. It w as during a difficult overtaking manoeuvre that Miguel hit a big tree with the front left part of his Proto. The punishment was imm ediate : the front headlight and wing were torn off, and the windscreen was broken.
Unfortunately, the young Portuguese driver also had a puncture, on the front right side, 20 kilometres from the finish line. A great shame, as the 'Miguel' duo could have set a superb time. As for the team of Muller and Metge, according to Yvan it was quite a fun stage, who particularly liked the technical sequences of this route, but who opted to take things quietly in order to reach the finish without further problems -- and without any punctures. He set the 17th time.
In the T2 category, Jean-Pierre Strugo retook the second position and is now 27th in the overall classification. He had no particular problems, and just kept the right pace. Paul Belmondo finished seven minutes behind his team-m ate, but had suffered a lot in the dust, especially when overtaking the trucks... Carole Montillet and Mélanie Suchet, who were still on the trail yesterday evening, spent their first night in the dunes. With a broken engine bracket, they managed to reach the CP1 yesterday around 19:30, but their temporary repair did not allow them to finish the stage. They have therefore been forc ed to retire from this 29th Dakar. The assistance truck w ent to fetch them, and everyone is keen to see them reach the bivouac.
Tomorrow will be rather an unusual day for this stage of the event, as there will be a half rest-day, and the bivouac will be set up in Ayoun-el-Atrous, the third-largest town in Mauritania, after Nouakchott.
The organisers had to change the route shortly before the start, due to the activities of terrorist gangs around Timbuktu, so this transit leg had to be added at the last minute, just like today's loop around Nema.