Stage 14: Kayes to Tambacounda
January 14, 2005
Liaison 93 km - Special 529 km - Liaison 8 km
Total 630 km
It is from Sadiola, in Mali, that this stage will start, moving directly south along the Senegalese border.
Here the rally will cross the Faleme River, which in the memories of old hands remains a historical spot as it heralds the arrival of the rally in Senegal and the finish.
The track that leads to Tambacounda alternates between bush landscape, the crossing of villages and quick splashes in little rivers in Soninke country.
07:28 Welcome to Senegal
Statistically, there are often competitors that are forced to quit in the last stages of the rally. The rule will probably again be applied this year. However, those who will make it to Senegal today will have almost managed their challenge. With few difficulties, the stage will crown the strongest and fittest that will manage to remain focused and enjoy the splendid landscapes of black Africa.
For the leaders, the bike race can still have some upsets although on a special with no significant navigation, the big KTMs have a serious advantage. In the car race, the Mitsubishi driver's have a big enough lead to control things until Dakar. But Stephane Peterhansel is well placed to know that 'it ain't over til it's over!
10:33 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.
21h45 -- Servia, the end
After having hit a tree during stage 12, Josep-Maria Servia lived another misfortune between Bamako and Kayes when he crashed his car and went for a roll. The damage was so bad that the Spaniard was forced to quit a rally that will have been a nightmare for the Schlesser-Ford team following the withdrawal of boss jean-Louis Schlesser on his V8 buggy. Servia looked rather devastated on the Kayes bivouac. "The accident was that bad but I am now forced to go home. I entered a bend too quickly, the car went sideways and it ended up going for a flip. The engine and mechanical parts are fine but the chassis and main cabin are wrecked, and of course we have no more spare parts. It's tough to have to quit with just three days left, especially because it was very important for Jean-Louis to have at least one car in Dakar.
22h20 -- Dessoude satisfied
Andre Dessoude, team boss of about ten Nissan vehicles on the rally is still directing his 40 mechanics who are working on the cars of his 'clients'. Three days from the finish, the check-up remains impressive. "It would be terrible to have to break down now for whoever. So we do the maximum so that the end goes as easily as possible, although we're all tired". So far, Dessoude has quite a few satisfactions on this 2005 Dakar but has regrets for those who haven't made it. "I especially happy for Benoit Rousselot who should finish his first Dakar, as well as for Japan's Jun Mitsuhashi and the Chinese Lang Xu and Yong Zhou. But, I'm also disappointed for Paul Belmondo, Kenjiro Shinozuka and Gregoire De Mevius".
22h45 -- 'Mitsu' at work
In the Mitsubishi team, the perspective of victory to come hasn't eased the pressure on the mechanics. What happened to Hiroshi Masuoka is still well in the minds of all so everything is done so that Peterhansel doesn't break his engine. Team boss Dominique Serieys has therefore asked for the pistons on Peter's engine to be changed again for the remaining three days. "One has to be careful because the last days have their traps like the crossing of the Faleme River for example...
23h15 -- Puy first lady
Despite the fact that for this 21-year-old girl the main goal is to get to Dakar for her first participation, Ludivine Puy still has a fierce sense of competition. The only women left in the race with Spaniard Amparo Ausina, she discovered that the penalty time that should have been added to the time of her rival hadn't been done. France's Enduro champion therefore alerted the officials on this mistake and the standings were immediately modified after many excuses. Ludivine Puy is now in good position to win the woman's event.
2h05 -- Schlesser mechanics give a helping hand
Philippe Gache had already seriously damaged his buggy on the previous day but a driving mistake almost cost him deeply. After falling asleep 20kms from the start of the special, his buggy was trapped in a hole and went for a tumble. "The chassis is wrecked but the engine is still working", admitted the head mechanic while Gache was enjoying some rest. "We managed to get the door of and front and rear cap of Errandonea's car that is no longer in the race. The mechanics of Jean-Louis Schlesser have been really nice. They came to help us so that 5 guys could work on the car. Thanks to all the help, Philippe should be able to carry on.
2h30 -- Two vehicles still expected
All the vehicles expected had made it to the Kayes bivouac except the truck of Roland Hoebeke and the car of Carlos Rentero, stopped between CP 1 and CP 2 because a damaged front wheel.
11:11 Leaders at CP1
The first bikes have made it to the first check point of the day, situated just on small river crossing. The first biker was Andy Caldecott (winner of yesterday's special) who crossed the river on the saddle of his KTM.
Shortly after came David Fretigne who jumped off his bike to cross the 50cm of water. The two first bikers were followed by Chris Blais and Alfie Cox.
11:11 Fretigne fastest at CP1
At CP1 (km 189), David Fretigne had managed the best time of the bike race. The Frenchman on his Yamaha had a 1'04 lead on Caldecott, followed by Blais at 1'55, Coma at 4'17 and Cox at 4'41. Overall leader Cyril Despres was 6'50 adrift.
11:55 Fretigne fastest at CP2
At the second checkpoint of the day (km 258), David Fretigne still had the best time of the bike race. The Frenchman has a 57" lead on Caldecott (who started first and remains alone ahead on the special). Third is Chris Blais at 1'34, followed by Coma at 3'30 and Cox at 3'38.
Overall leader, Cyril Despres is at 7'01...
12:37 Vatanen fastest at CP1
At the first check point of the car special (km 189), the best time was for late starter Ari Vatanen (NIS). Second fastest was Jutta Kleinschmidt (VW) at 5'51 followed by Carlos Sousa (NIS) at 6'04. Giniel De Villiers (NIS) was fourth at 7'04 after overtaking both the Mitsubishi cars of Alphand and Peterhansel who stopped to get rid of their water protections for the river crossing.
12:57 217 still in the race
217 vehicles are still in the race and have started the day's 14th stage.
- 105 bikes. No longer in the race: Volpari (141),
- 75 cars. No longer in the race: Rentero Cano (459),
- 37 trucks.
13:22 Fretigne still fastest at CP3
At the third and final CP of the day (km 416), the best time was still in the hands of David Fretigne (YAM).
Second was Chris Blais (KTM) at 1'39, followed by Alfie Cox at 3'10. Overall leader was 7'20 adrift. Andy Caldecott who suffered severe problems on his rear wheel was still not at the check point.
14:11 Vatanen fastest at CP2
At the second CP of the day (km 258), Ari Vatanen continues his fantastic special. The Finn has a 1'58 lead on Robby Gordon (VW), 6'25 on Bruno Saby, 8'11 on Sousa and 8'41 on De Villiers. Overall leader Stephane Peterhansel is taking it easy. The Frenchman was at 15'43.
14:12 Caldecott finally at CP3
After suffering rear wheel problems and stopping at km 320, Andy Caldecott (KTM) eventually made it to the third check point with a 22'50 deficit on the best time set by Fretigne.
14:15 Kleinschmidt stopped
At km 268 of the car special, Jutta Kleinschmidt (VW) was stopped with mechanical problems. Team mate Robby Gordon has also stopped to help out and try to repair.
14:24 De Azevedo wins special
On the finish line of the day's special, Brazil's Jean De Azevedo wins the stage with a 10" on David Fretigne and 23" on Chris Blais. Fourth is Alfie Cox at only 34", followed by Coma at 3'10. Overall leader, Cyril Despres finished 7' adrift but keeps the leadership with 12'16 advantage on Coma.
14:53 Vatanen heading to victory
At the third ad final CP of the day (km 416), Ari Vatanen (NIS) had a comfortable time lead on all his rivals. Bruno Saby (VW) remained 7'08 adrift while Giniel De Villiers (NIS) was at 11'38. Fourth was Nani Roma (MIT) at 12'56, followed by Magnaldi (HON) at 13'46. Overall leader Stephane Peterhansel (MIT) was at over 19'.
15:12 Kleinschmidt back on the road
After stopping with very serious steering problems, Jutta Kleinschmidt is back on the special and driving. The German managed to repair her Race Touareg thanks to team mate Robby Gordon's steering system who had stopped to help. The American is now waiting for his assistance truck at km 268 for spare parts.
15:57 Vatanen wins special
Finland's Ari Vatanen won his first special of this 27th edition on the day's 518km. The Nissan driver flew to victory beating Bruno Saby (VW) by 9'16 and team mate Giniel De Villiers by 11'45. Fourth was Roma (MIT) at 14'47, followed by Magnaldi (HON) at 15'52.Overall leader Stephane Peterhansel (MIT) finished 20'55 adrift but keeps a comfortable 26'41 advantage on Alphand (MIT - who finished at 20'03 of the day's winner).
18:01 Kleinschmidt finally finishes special
After severe steering problems during the special, Jutta Kleinschmidt (VW) eventually made it to the finish line of the stage with a 2h06 deficit on the fastest time set by Ari Vatanen. The German keeps her overall third spot, but is now 3h16 adrift. Giniel de Villiers is fourth overall at 4h06.
21:37 Time penalties
The following time penalties have been given to the Dakar competitors after they were caught speeding in the villages. These penalties apply to the overall standings and not the special.
- Despres (2), 9'
- Fretigne (12), 12'30
- Algay (32), 11'
- Puy (35), 11'30
- Rivera (39), 12'
- Vigneron (56), 4'
- Ramos Martinez (68), 21'
- Gorla (84), 14'30
- Ciscar Chisbert (109), 14'
- Quinonero (131), 6'
- Verhoeven (145), 19'
- Ausina (156), 5'
- Hansson (198), 3'
- Varga (220), 15'30
- Franssen (222), 8'30
- Vatanen (311), 12'
- Kolberg (339), 25'