ANDRE DESSOUDE'S JOURNAL January 5th 2006- Tan Tan With the three Nissan Pathfinder T2 cars still at the front of the pack, Andre Dessoude faced his first retirement this evening, that of the Polish driver Krysztof Holowczyc "Carlos Sousa is...
ANDRE DESSOUDE'S JOURNAL
January 5th 2006- Tan Tan
With the three Nissan Pathfinder T2 cars still at the front of the pack, Andre Dessoude faced his first retirement this evening, that of the Polish driver Krysztof Holowczyc
"Carlos Sousa is still working on the set-up of his Nissan Navara. The car is starting to become efficient, but he is becoming aware that he cannot compete with the pack of factory cars. From now on, the aim is to reach Dakar in a honourable position.
Our Japanese driver, Jun Mitsushashi, has made a very good recovery. The car is perfect, and he is doing a very good job. He is working well with Jacky, and listens to him. I think this will be a very good experience for Jun.
It was also a good day for the two T2 Pathfinder cars of Benoît Rousselot and Paul Belmondo.
Paul had a very good stage, and Benoît was just behind him in the stage classification. They are racing as we asked them to, taking care of their vehicles. This point is very important, as there is not much time for assistance during the next two stages.
There were no real problems with the two Nissan Paladin cars, although Xu Lang's had a pierced radiator following an accident with a broken strap, but thanks to Fabian, who was able to stem the leak, they did not lose too much time.
A last word concerning our Polish driver, Krysztof Holowczyc. Further to the fuel pump problems he had during the Moroccan stage, the engine overheated, as the air-fuel mix was not rich enough.
Yesterday, the engine was working very badly, and the pistons were damaged. We could have repaired it, but there was no guarantee that it would go very far.
I had a long discussion with Krysztof, who is an intelligent boy who always remains calm. We decided to leave the Pickup in Ouarzazate, which will allow a quick return to France, and in return, we will offer him an entry in the Por Las Pampas rally, in Argentina, the first round of the World Cup for Cross Country Rallies."
The Team Dessoude drivers:
Xu Lang/Fabian Lurquin -- Nissan Paladin T1 : " Everything was going well until the 250 km point, when coming out of a small palm plantation, a biker braked hard in the fech-fech, and to avoid him, we got stuck. It was not easy to shovel the sand, as it was more like dust. Luckily our good Samaritan arrived, in the shape of Rene Metge, who attached our strap to his Pathfinder.
Unfortunately, when he pulled hard, the strap broke, which pierced the radiator. We lost 40 minutes repairing it. But Xu Lang is still calm, he has really understood what the Dakar is all about. "
Benoît Rousselot -- Nissan Pathfinder T2: " Today, we respected our game plan perfectly. We wanted to take care both of our physical condition, and the vehicle. The aim was to leave Morocco with a fresh car, in perfect condition. So we drove 'cool', without taking any risks, without hassling other vehicles. Simon Jean-Joseph, one of our rivals in this category, took six minutes from us, but I'm sure he took a lot of risks. But that was his choice... We enjoyed ourselves less on this stage than on any of the others. We found ourselves in a little train, because of the dust which prevented us from overtaking. I looked after the gearbox and the transmission by running under powered.
The proof is that we used the minimum amount of fuel. The aim was to look after the car. This evening, we feel we have done a good job, which is very pleasing, and which allows us to remain calm and serene. Reality has overtaken everything we imagined at the start. But we are not in Dakar yet..."
Carlos Sousa -- Nissan Navara T1 " This year, the Morocco stages are nothing like those we had last year. They are very rough, and hard on the vehicles, and I am rather surprised that the organisers chose such a difficult route to start the event. The teams which chose Morocco for their test sessions apparently are not having the same problems as us. Our Navara does not yet have the right suspension set-up, the car is still jumping a lot at the back, even if we have been able to make a few improvements. I am completely satisfied with the front suspension now, but we still need to adjust the rear. By the time we arrive in Guinea and Senegal, our car will be 100% efficient...
Concerning today's stage, we chose not to push, because there were a lot of rocky tracks, and we did not want to have any more punctures. And it paid off; we had a quiet day, without stopping at all during the special stage. OK, we are quite a bit behind the factory cars, but I think they have made a lot of progress, they were really on their favourite test ground..."