ANDRE DESSOUDE'S JOURNAL 11th January 2006- Bamako (Mali) The second and final stage in Mali. The competitors will move into Guinea tomorrow, reaching Labe tomorrow evening. As it is a Marathon stage, there will be no assistance waiting for ...
ANDRE DESSOUDE'S JOURNAL
11th January 2006- Bamako (Mali)
The second and final stage in Mali. The competitors will move into Guinea tomorrow, reaching Labe tomorrow evening. As it is a Marathon stage, there will be no assistance waiting for them when they arrive. Only their Team Manager, Andre Dessoude, will be there. But in the meantime, a look back over today's events .
"Today, Carlos was quite fast. He set the sixth time, and moved up another place in the overall classification, thanks to the retirement of Jutta Kleinschmidt. The car has still not had the slightest technical problems. Miguel Barbosa had a good stage, without any problems. Nothing special to report, except that he is still very happy with his vehicle.
There were no problems either for Benoît Rousselot, the car is intact, and the team worked well on the navigational difficulties. They finished the stage in second place in the Production category.
Rene Metge had a small scare today. Overtaking a Kamaz truck, he went off-track and went over a very large rock. It worried him, but in the end, there was hardly any damage. The interesting thing about Rene, is that every evening, he brings us back a car on which there is practically nothing to be done. Moreover, he uses very little fuel, and has adapted his driving style perfectly to this Pathfinder in the Production category, where all the vital organs have been sealed.
As far as the Paladin cars are concerned, Xu Lang had a very good stage. However, the other driver rolled his car a few kilometers from the finish line. It was possible to put the car back on its wheels, but he had lost quite a lot of oil, and the assistance truck which was waiting for our cars at the finish line was able to top him up again.
As far as tomorrow's stage is concerned, the assistance trucks will not go to Labe, in Guinea. We will put all the vital parts in canteens which will be carried by our T4 race truck. As far as I am concerned, I will go to Labe by plane, with the other team managers. My role will be to guide the teams so that they can service their vehicles. I will only be able to talk to them, all other form of help being forbidden. When the T4 truck arrives, most probably late in the night, the mechanics will take over. The message I want to give my drivers is to consider the next two days as if it was a long, single stage. "
What they said...
The Team Dessoude drivers
Carlos Sousa : "We had a difficult day, as the navigation was far from easy. There were a lot of parallel tracks, and some potential traps that were not mentioned. It was not easy to choose the right track, but globally, Jean-Marie did a very good job. At the start of the stage, we made a small mistake, without too many consequences. Then afterwards, in order to look for a way-point just outside a village, we arrived by one route, and we saw Peterhansel and Roma coming from another direction. We left first, and we were effectively the trailblazers for them.
In a very rough section, with lots of stones, I was driving very slowly, and I expected that the Mitsubishi vehicles would catch up with us and use their horns to warn us. But nothing happened. We got a bit lost again, but no-one overtook us. At the finish line, unfortunately Stephane Peterhansel got a bit carried away in front of the television cameras, accusing us of having blocked him. I am sorry for everything he said and it saddens me that he could have thought such a thing."
Benoît Rousselot : "Today, we didn't have a very interesting day. The navigation was very complicated, and very stressful for the co-driver. We made a little mistake, and lost around five minutes.
We mainly took great care not to put our wheels in any of the deep trenches. I feel good, I am pleased to still be in the race, and to be getting closer to the finish. But no longer being in contention for the category win makes things a bit less interesting. It has certainly affected our morale, and it is difficult to be motivated. "
Xu Lang/Fabian Lurquin : "We would like to dedicate this stage to our mechanics, who changed our gear-box last night, and did a great job. We had a good stage from a navigational point of view, and we took care of the car as much as possible. Early on, we saw Jutta Kleinschmidt and Philippe Gache's cars stopped, and that warned us that we should not go crazy, as there were plenty of potential traps that had not been mentioned."