Today's Leg... Finally, Dakar is within sight. Today, between Tambacounda and Dakar, the competitors were able to appreciate this country's charm. Entering into the capital city of Senegal, all those in the classification were very m uch aware...
Finally, Dakar is within sight. Today, between Tambacounda and Dakar, the competitors were able to appreciate this country's charm. Entering into the capital city of Senegal, all those in the classification were very m uch aware of their approaching deliverance. Just one short stage on the banks of the Rose Lake and the 2007 edition will be over.
There have been no real changes to the overall classification and tomorrow, barring any major incidents, should just confirm these two weeks of racing.
Among the Team Dessoude competitors, Miguel Barbosa set another fine performance, finishing 10th fastest in today's special st age. His team-mate Yvan Muller was 17th. Since yesterday, the driver from the Alsace has been extremely tired. After spending two hours in the Tambacounda medical tent on a drip, to fight dehydration, Yvan was not yet back on form today. Most likely heatstroke, amplified by the fatigue of two weeks hard racing.
In the T2 category, Jean-Pierre Strugo has not let go. He gained another 17 minutes on Jun Mitsuhashi, despite a big scare before the start, with a broken power steering pump. He only has tomorrow to try and dislodge the Japanese driver from the lead...
Paul Belmondo set the 40th time, just 8 seconds behind his teammate, after spending 70 km driving in the dust thrown up by two trucks...
The last leg and the last special stage, around the Rose Lake -- the last challenge of this 29th edition of the Dakar, where there is still a possibility to move up one or two places in the overall classification. The stage is 16 km long, and at the end, all those still in the race will have made a dream come true -- for some of them, the dream of a lifetime. That's the m agic of the Dakar.
News from the drivers and co-drivers...
Miguel Barbosa -- Proto Dessoude
"We set a good time, but both of our trip-masters were broken... the distances were wrong, and as there were plenty of changes of direction, I would like to congratulate Miguel who did an excellent job. We set the 10th fastest time, which isn't too bad all things considered."
Jean-Pierre Strugo -- Nissan Pathfinder T2
" The day started very badly. Coming out of the Tambacounda bivouac, our power-steering pump broke. We were able to repair it, but during that time, some of our things were stolen from the car. A bag with all our documents, and most importantly, Yves Ferri's helmet. We really thought our Dakar was over, as it would be impossible to start the stage without a helmet. Luckily, our assistance team was there and was able to find a helmet that fitted him. We gained 17 minutes on Jun Mitsuhashi, but he is still half an hour ahead of us. He cannot afford to have any major problems tomorrow, which will put him under pressure and gives me a bit of hope... "
Yves Ferri -- Jean-Pierre Strugo's co-driver -- Nissan Pathfinder T2
" What a day ! I didn't see anything in Tambacounda, but when I saw that my helmet wasn't there, I realised the scale of the problem... Finally, everything worked out. From a sporting side, the special stage was nice. A narrow track winding through the trees and as many as 18 or 19 villages to cross at low speed... "
Paul Belmondo -- Nissan Pathfinder T2
" I really haven't been lucky with trucks... once again I had to do nearly 70 km in the dust thrown up by two of them. They were relatively nice and finally let me past. However, in the second part (without the trucks) I really had fun. Slaloms between the trees and a sustained pace through the combinations. It's a shame we couldn't have driven in those conditions from the start."
Guy Leneveu -- Paul Belmondo's co-driver -- Nissan Pathfinder T2
"I had promised Paul that I'd get him to Dakar. I've done all I could. We're there ... the rally is not yet over but the end is within sight...."