Stage 11: Atar to Kiffa
January 11, 2005
Liaison 34 km - Special 656 km - Liaison 5 km
Total 695 km
To celebrate in a worthy fashion the leaving of At?r and the last day in Mauritania, drivers will race a long - Special of 600 km. The first half, towards Tidjikja via the Pic de Bou Naga, will include much dune crossing on very soft sand: be careful with the fuel consumption. The track is then a new one, in the valleys of the Tagant massif, crossing the superb Ksar el Barka oasis before once again taking the very rocky stretch leading to the Nega pass, this time in a downwards direction.
07:25 CHANGES FOR STAGE 11 BETWEEN ATAR AND KIFFA
The weather conditions that have shaken the rally since the beginning of the event have made the last stages a lot harder than expected for the 2005 edition. Added to that, the information given by the organisation opening teams indicate that the first half of the special will be a lot tougher, especially if the weather remains this way. La rally officials have therefore decided to shorten stage 11 from Atar to Kiffa that was already expected to be one the hardest of the event. The special will stop at the originally planned CP2 shortening the distance from 656 km to 400,48km. From CP2, the competitors will head to the Kiffa bivouac on a liaison via a asphalt road.
11:21 Night watch
Mechanical worries, late arrivals, injuries, bad luck and withdrawals... All you need to know about what happened on the bivouac during the night.
21h15 -- Sousa relieved
Carlos Sousa, fourth overall before the start of the Atar-Atar stage has lost all chances of making it on the podium in Dakar. " We had a problem on the front right wheel. We therefore lost six to seven hours. We were finally able to get the wheel of De Mevius who had to retire after his crash. Luckily, Thierry (Delli-Zotti, his co-driver) who is an excellent mechanic managed to repair and got us out of this problem. I'm really happy to have made it and to be able to carry on", insisted the Portuguese.
21h35 -- G.De Rooy once again
Just arrived at the end of the special, Gerard De Rooy once again had troubles during the stage that prevented him from competing until the end with the Kamaz trucks. "I managed a very good start to the race but then broke down and lots twice as much time, first of all because we had to try and repair and then because the truck wasn't working as well. Anyhow, the most important thing now is that we carry on having fun each day and that it lasts until Dakar.
23h00 -- Some work at Mitsu...
In the workshop of the Japanese brand, all are sad about Masuoka's withdrawal (the first since 1993) but the most important thing is to take care of the two leading cars. The mechanics have done the same checks on both Alphand and Peterhansel's car after his problems at the end of stage 8. Meanwhile, still no news from Andrea Mayer, stopped on the special with electrical problems.
23h30 -- VW with Jutta
Volkswagen has lost Juha Kankunnen, who crashed his car on its side on a dune. The back of the Race Touareg being extremely damaged, the Finn has decided to quit the race in Atar despite possibilities to repair. Now all he teams expectations lie on the shoulders of Jutta Kleinschmidt and everything will be done to help her remain on the podium of the car race until Dakar.
2h30... Mitsu still at work
The work continues on Luc Alphand's car that needs more are then expected. The mechanics decide to take 'Peter's Evo out ofr a test. Andrea Mayer still hasn't made it to the bivouac or to CP2.
3h30 -- Late arrivals
116 bikes have made it to the finish out of the 126 that had started the stage. None of the bikers are still on the road. In the car race, 80 crews have arrived on the bivouac and 17 are still expected. 32 trucks out of the 48 have made it to Atar.
11:34 Coma fastest at CP
At the first and only CP of the day (km 175), a group of 5 riders arrived bunched (Meoni, Despres, Esteve, Fretigne, Coma) meaning that Marc Coma, the latest starter, has the fastest time. Alfie Cox made it to the CP on his own, slightly later.
11:43 Mitsus together
At km 100 of the car race, both Mitsubishi vehicles of Peterhansel and Alphand are driving together which means that Alphand has gained two minutes on 'Peter'. Jutta Kleinschmidt is some 300m behind.
11:47 Roma stopped
At km 23, Spaniard Nani Roma had a major fright after a dune. The Mitsubishi driver was then stuck in the sand for around 5 minutes.
11:55 Vatanen to help De Villiers
Taking off 2 minutes before his Nissan team mate, Ari Vatanen has let De Villiers pass him before CP1, probably to help out in case of a problem. Indeed, De Villiers is the best placed member of the Nissan team, 4th overall.
13:22 DAKAR OFFICIAL RELEASE
Death of Fabrizio Meoni It is with huge sadness that the rally was informed this morning of the death of Fabrizio MEONI (n4), one of the greatest rally-raid champions ever, after a crash just after CP1, at km 184, at 10h15 (GMT) during stage 11 between Atar and Kiffa.
A medical helicopter of the organisation was immediately sent on the scene of the accident at 10h36 (GMT) and the doctors treated the champion for 45 minutes.
However, the two-time Dakar winner, aged of 47 years, died of his injuries at 11h11 (GMT).
13:31 Jutta fastest at CP1
At the first check point of the car special (km 175), Jutta Kleinschmidt (VW) has the fastest time so far. The German driver has a 5'12 lead on Luc Alphand (MIT) and 9'05 on her Volkswagen team mate Bruno Saby. Fourth is overall leader Stephane Peterhansel (MIT) at 9'35, followed by Ari Vatanen (NIS) at 11'20.
13:43 3 in the lead
After Jutta Kleinschmidt had made it to CP1 (km 175) alone in the lead. At km 245, the German had been caught and overtaken by the two Mitsubishi cars of Peterhansel and Alphand.
13:59 Bekx fastest at CP1
At the first check point of the truck race (km 175), Hans Bekx (DAF) has the best time so far. Second is Jan De Rooy (DAF) at 4'34, followed by Tchaguine (KAM) at 13'15 and Kabirov (KAM) at 19'15.
14:59 Coma wins special
On the finish line of the day's special between Atar and Kiffa, Marc Coma clinched the win with a 1'12 lead on Cyril Despres and 3'57 on Esteve. Fourth was Cox at 4'45. Despres remains the leader of the rally.
15:00 Reds in front
At km 315 of the car special, the two Mitsubishi Pajeros of Luc Alphand and Stephane Peterhansel were comfortably leading the race. About a kilometre behind was Jutta Kleinschmidt (VW). Further behind were the Nissan Pickups of Vatanen and De Villiers, followed at shooting distance by Bruno Saby (VW).
According to the starting times of the day's stage, that would mean that Kleinschmist do far has the best time.
16:05 Kleinschmidt wins special
On the finish line of the day's 400km special, Jutta Kleinchmidt (VW) has just clocked a winning time of 5h29'37". The German in her Race Touareg beat Luc Alphand (MIT) by 1'04" while Peterhansel (MIT) finished at 2'42".
19:02 Bekx wins special
Dutchman Hans Bekx (DAF) clinched his fourth special of the Dakar on the day's 400km stage. Bekx beat his compatriot Gerard De Rooy (DAF) by 4'06 while Tchaguine (KAM) finished at 11'19. Overall leader Kabirov (KAM) was fourth at 16'24 and keeps his leadership with a 2h00'05 advantage on Bekx.
21:55 Bikers to be transported to Bamako
The entire competitors of the Dakar rally have been deeply affected by the sad death of Fabrizio Meoni.
The bikers have expressed the wish not to compete on stage 12 between Kiffa and Bamako. The rally organisation has therefore decided, in accordance with the riders, to cancel the special and to take by airplane the competitors and their bikes to Bamako.
The special will be normally competed for the cars and trucks.