Dakar: Nissan stage ten report

Towards Egypt. It is with great sadness that the organisers of the Dakar announced the death of Bruno Cauvy, co-driver of car number 280 (Toyota). The organisers and the whole Dakar family express their sincerest condoleances to his family and...

Towards Egypt.

It is with great sadness that the organisers of the Dakar announced the death of Bruno Cauvy, co-driver of car number 280 (Toyota). The organisers and the whole Dakar family express their sincerest condoleances to his family and friends. The accident occured at km 270 of the special from Zilla and Sirar in Lybia. The medical staff arrived 27 minutes after the organisers were informed to find the car upside down on the track and were only able to pronounce Bruno Cauvy dead at the scene of the accident. Driver Daniel Nebot is in a good state of health.

Considered as a transition stage, to give the Rally caravan a chance to get its breath back, this 10th stage did not bring many changes to the car category of the 25th Dakar. The competitors first drove along 130 km of sandy tracks, before going off-road to Sarir. The most important oil refinery in Libya, Sarir is located on the edge of the Libyan desert, which stretches over Egypt and Libya. To add some spice to the day, no GPS was allowed...

Jacky Bourgin and G?rard Ancement.
Photo by Nissan Europe.

There were no major changes in the Nissan clan. One puncture each for Vatenen and Villiers, both of whom lost some time. For once, De Lavergne was spared any punctures, but his tyre inflating/deflating system failed him. None of the three teams had any navigation problems, on a stage where this could have been difficult. Masuoka set the best time, ahead of Peterhansel and Fontenay, with Vatanen 5th.

Ari Vatanen, who gained a place in the overall classification (11th), explained : " The start of the special stage was very rolling, very fast, almost a WRC stage ... then we came to a plateau, with many different tracks. Up until the Checkpoint, everything was perfect. After the CP1, we had a puncture, which lost us some time, then it was straight on, and very fast. For nearly 400km, we stayed around 2 or 3 kilometres behind Fontenay. There were no navigation problems. If all the stage had been like the first 130 km, it would have suited me perfectly... "

Giniel de Villiers, who also had a puncture, took the 12th place, behind Thierry De Lavergne : " We had a puncture and a problem with the jack, meaning that we lost about 6 minutes. It's a bit annoying ... it was not possible to make up any time today, the terrain was too fast, and as far as the navigation was concerned, all the leading teams have good navigators. There was no point counting on that to make a difference. We are still 8th overall ... and tomorrow is another day ... "

The third surviving Nissan Pickup, that of Thierry De Lavergne, is not doing too badly : " For us, everything went well. Jacky did a good job, and we did not lose any time. We were not able to use the tyre inflating/deflating system, which could have lost us time in two or three places. We could not go faster than 150km/h because of this small worry, but the car is going very well. "

Away from the race, the latest news concerning Kenjiro Shinozuka is very satisfactory. He was able to talk to various team members, including Ari Vatanen, and appears to be in good spirits. He should be transferred to Paris at the start of next week. Excellent news for all those who have been calling round at the bivouac to enquire about his condition

As far as the Production category Terrano cars are concerned, Paul Belmondo has been making excellent progress, and is now in the 19th place in the overall classification, while Yves Loubet's misadventures have continued. Yesterday, at around 2 pm, after passing the CP2, he stopped once more on the side of the track, with a broken wheel stub axle. The team still had around 250 km of the special stage to complete. Driving through the night, he reached the bivouac and took the start again this morning. As for Henri Pescarolo, he is still going strong ... and going well, as yesterday he was 16th overall.

Tomorrow's stage will take the competitors on to Siwa, where Monday will be a rest day. But before reaching this superb oasis, there are still a number of difficulties to cross... more sand, and gigantic dunes ... incredible scenery ... the competitors will have to work hard in order to deserve Siwa.

-nissan-

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Series DAKAR