Dakar: Nissan stage 12 report

The Siwa-Siwa loop ... The guests who had come to Siwa for the rest day had a unique opportunity to see today's stage, which took the form of a loop around the Siwa oasis. With magnificent scenery, and the Egyptian sun, they were ensured of...

The Siwa-Siwa loop ...

The guests who had come to Siwa for the rest day had a unique opportunity to see today's stage, which took the form of a loop around the Siwa oasis. With magnificent scenery, and the Egyptian sun, they were ensured of plenty of memories before flying back to Paris.

For the Nissan Pickups, this stage unfolded without problems, but with a certain care. An extremely tricky route, with strong sensations in the downhill sections, meant that some sections had been marked out with posts. The three Pickups remaining in the race negotiated these potential traps without problems.

Ari Vatanen and Tina Thorner.
Photo by Nissan Europe.

Ari Vatanen, who set the 8th time, did not put any unnecessary pressure on himself: " We had one puncture today, which was my fault, I was driving too quickly. We did not have the right spanner to take the wheel off, and so we lost a bit of time. But everything is going well, it's not serious ... The stage was beautiful, with a lot of dunes and sand, a golden stage ! There were a few difficult, tricky stages. It will be difficult to gain any places in the overall classification, unless those ahead of us suffer any problems. But I would like to try and set a few fastest times, if there are still some good, rolling stages to come. Of course, we are continuing to develop the car as the days go by. "

For Thierry de Lavergne, who was classified 12th, today's stage was no picnic : " Quite frankly, today's special stage was dangerous ; there were broken dunes everywhere, some of which we were not told about. It was really very tricky. I think some cars suffered damage, including De M?vius and Servia. We opted to manage our race and to wait and see what happens in front of us, watching and waiting. It will be difficult to get up into the top ten by Sharm el Sheikh. Those who are ahead of us in the overall classification do not make many mistakes, and there is not enough of a gap on the special stages to gain much ground. Tomorrow, there is a long stage, over 500 kilometres. If the stage is hard-going, I am going to set a sustained pace in order to pull out a gap, but if it is good going, we will not manage to do that. Our position today is correct for the rhythm we adopted, taking no risks, not really pushing (it was not the day to do that) , but tomorrow, I would like to go faster."

Giniel de Villiers is currently the best-placed Nissan Pickup, setting the 5th time in the special stage and 6th in the overall classification : " It was not an excellent special stage, it was quite dangerous, long steep downhill sections, and sometimes there were differences with the road book. There were dangers that were not shown, and some dangers that were shown did not exist. We calmed down in order to prevent getting caught out unnecessarily. The car went very well, we did not have any punctures. It was important to take care of the car over this sort of terrain. Tomorrow's special stage will be long, and could be decisive. It is vitally important to get through tomorrow's stage without problems. "

Speaking of tomorrow's stage, the 569-km special promises to be spectacular, and could deliver some surprises. The competitors will have to cross right across the "Great Sand Sea". A real ocean of sand dunes...including Cathedral dunes, sometimes over 100 metres high. The second part of the stage crosses the "White Desert". A winding path snakes between giant limestone mushrooms, typical of this region. The stage finishes by crossing a magnificent pass between canyons. Heading down the cliff, the competitors will finally reach the Dakhla oasis.

-nissan-

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About this article
Series Dakar
Drivers Giniel de Villiers , Ari Vatanen , Tina Thorner , Thierry de Lavergne