Dakar: South African racers stage eight report

CAN-AM POWERS AHEAD AS FIVE QUADS TACKLE THE LAST WEEK OF THE DAKAR. Four of the thirteen quads that started the 2007 Dakar Rally just over a week ago in Lisbon, Portugal, have survived eight stages and 4 992 kilometres and tackled...

CAN-AM POWERS AHEAD AS FIVE QUADS TACKLE THE LAST WEEK OF THE DAKAR.

Four of the thirteen quads that started the 2007 Dakar Rally just over a week ago in Lisbon, Portugal, have survived eight stages and 4 992 kilometres and tackled the last week of this gruelling race.

Unfortunately, four time SA national off-road quad champion and winner of the quad category of the Dakar Rally in 2004, Cornel de Villiers, was forced to call it a day on Stage Five of this year's Dakar event.

De Villiers, who raced this year for the Can-Am MD Rally Sport Bombardier Team, experienced the same problem with his Outlander 800 as his team-mate, Johan Steenkamp, a day earlier and had to stop 100 kilometres before the end of the 279 kilometre stage that started in Quarzazate and ended in Tan Tan in Mauritania.

Due to the remoteness of where the failures took place, the quads have not been retrieved for a full assessment at this time.

According to a spokesman for Can-Am Bombardier importers in South Africa, this company had not had a single engine problem on the hundreds of Outlanders being sold since its launch in 2005. As part of the Dakar preparation, De Villiers participated with a similar quad in the gruelling SA national off-road quad championship without any engine glitches at all. As a result it is suspected that an after-market component is the reason why the quads suffered mechanical failure and were forced to drop out of the event.

The team will however have to wait for the quads to arrive back in the country to establish exactly what the problem was.

After Stage Eight, a marathon stage, overall results showed that only five quads were on the start line to take on Stage Nine from Tichit to N

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Series Dakar