Dakar: Nissan Dessoude stage eight report

The Dakar neutralised… Grégoire de Mevius reached Tichit in the morning A positive note this morning at the Tichit bivouac, where all too few competitors had reached the finish line. Grégoire de Mevius finally arrived, after nearly 24 ...

The Dakar neutralised… Grégoire de Mevius reached Tichit in the morning A positive note this morning at the Tichit bivouac, where all too few competitors had reached the finish line. Grégoire de Mevius finally arrived, after nearly 24 hours without rest. A crazy stage in the heart of Mauritania.

Due to the difficulties met on the Zouerat-Tichit special stage, and the small number of competitors who had reached the bivouac by this morning, the organisers of the 27th Dakar decided to cancel the stage between Tichit and Tidjikja. Those still in the race will go to Tiidjikja by liaison, and the time allocated for yesterday's stage has been increased in order to retain as many competitors as possible. As well as the technical problems encountered, many of those still on the route have run out of fuel...

Moreover, the weather conditions in Mauritania are not improving, and questions are being asked about tomorrow's stage between Tidjikja and Atar. A slight pause for the Dakar ... Despite all the problems, Gregoire de Mevius arrived in Tichit this morning. Having broken down (axel shaft) just before CP1, after 230 km, the Belgian driver was forced to wait for his assistance truck to start repairs. He was able to get going at 21:30 yesterday evening. He did most of the stage in the dark...

"What a day! We started out at a good pace, then I felt that something was wrong. We stopped, and started to dismantle the gearbox. But it was actually the axle shaft. The assistance arrived eight hours later. Long hours of waiting, during which time you feel totally helpless. We got going again at 21:30, reaching Tichit this morning at 09:00. A whole night driving in extremely tricky conditions. A few kilometres from the end point, we ran out of fuel.

Luckily, we only had to wait for ten minutes. A good Samaritan from the organisation, who was setting off to help some bikers, came across us and gave us a few litres to get to the end. We've lost all hopes for the overall classification, but I hope to get back into the top ten before Dakar."

Unlike Gregoire, Carlos Sousa spent the night in Tichit. The Portuguese driver put in a fine performance yesterday, and has leapt up the leader board. However, like all the others, he found the day far from easy : "This stage was difficult. And the weather did not help matters. We tried to drive 'cleanly' keeping an eye on the fuel consumption, because we quickly realised we would have a problem. The last part, with very tall camel grass, was particularly surprising. We will continue our race, taking care of the vehicle. We are not even at the half-way point. Nothing is decided yet."

Another latecomer was Benoît Rousselot. After putting in a fine performance for two thirds of the route, the driver from Nancy ran out of fuel... Stuck all night and most of the morning waiting for fuel, Benoît arrived at Tichit in the early afternoon, just in time to set off for the liaison sector to Tidjikja. For him, the race will go on. A fine baptism of fire for his first Dakar...

Some news about Kenjiro Shinozuka and Pascal Maimon, who had a heavy crash yesterday. They are currently at the Nouakchott hospital, waiting to be flown back to France. The Japanese driver is just slightly bruised, but Pascal could have a fractured sternum. Their state of health is not causing any worries.

Tomorrow, if things get back to normal, a 381 km special stage should take place, between Tidjikja and Atar. The assistance trucks are already at Tidjikja, but the whole logistical side of the rally, the means of communication and the press are all stuck in Tichit for another night. No planes were able to land in Tidjikja due to the bad weather conditions. We hope that things will improve tomorrow.

-dessoude-

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About this article
Series Dakar
Drivers Carlos Sousa , Pascal Maimon , Kenjiro Shinozuka , Gregoire de Mevius , Benoit Rousselot