Dakar: Nissan stage 15 report

Giniel de Villiers claims Nissan's fifth stage victory on the 2005 Dakar After Ari Vatanen yesterday, Giniel de Villiers gave Nissan another stage victory, its 5th on the 27th edition of the Dakar (and his second of the event). The team was...

Giniel de Villiers claims Nissan's fifth stage victory on the 2005 Dakar

After Ari Vatanen yesterday, Giniel de Villiers gave Nissan another stage victory, its 5th on the 27th edition of the Dakar (and his second of the event). The team was all smiles when they crossed the line, and appeared to have enjoyed themselves immensely... Ari Vatanen finished 10th. After days and days of wind and low visibility, the sun finally shone on the Dakar competitors. The perfect way to improve the morale of the Dakar survivors at the start of the last 'real' stage of the event, 225 km long. The stage was said to favour real driving skills, which definitely turned out to be the case.

Giniel de Villiers set his second fastest stage time, the fifth for Nissan. Moreover, the team really enjoyed themselves ...

"That was one of the most beautiful Dakar stages. Very fast, winding and technical, great from a driver's point of view. I must admit we really had fun. Pure driving pleasure.... Jean Marie did a great job. He was perfect, as some sections before CP1 were really quite tricky from a navigation point of view. We were really concentrating on the task, and pushing as well. I knew that the 50-minute gap between Jutta and myself in the overall classification was a lot, but it could have worked out over this sort of terrain. This stage really favoured attacking. Tomorrow, we just have the 31 km special stage around the Rose Lake, and then... the finish !"

Jean Marie Lurquin was smiling brightly when he got down from the Pickup : "We had a great time today. It was excellent ! Giniel did a really good job. We were not bothered at all by Saby's dust. We thought he was a long way ahead of us, but in the end we finished just behind him. It was really amusing..."

Ari Vatanen set the 10th time, and still retained his sense of humour : "My ambition today was to remain behind Giniel ...which I did. I can't wait to be by the side of the pool ... in Dakar !"

Tiziano Siviero explained their day's adventures : "Actually, we hit a tree, and broke the exhaust. We lost a lot of power. We stopped, but there was nothing we could do. We just carried on slowly to the finish line."

In the overall classification, Giniel de Villiers is still 4th, behind Jutta Kleinschmidt. But even if the gap separating them is less than it was, it seems difficult, if not to say impossible for him to catch up with the German driver over tomorrow's 31 km special stage, which will take place around the Rose Lake.

Tomorrow's final stage will bring the 27th edition of the Dakar to a close. Traditionally, all the competitors still in the race will take part in this final stage around the Rose Lake. An opportunity for the many guests to share the last moments of this legendary race.

-nissan-

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Series DAKAR