Stage 6: Smara to Zouerat
January 5, 2005
Liaison 121 km - Special 492 km - Liaison 9 km
Total 622 km
Drivers skilled at dune crossing and navigating will here be in their element. But for the 40 % of new entrants in the motorcycle category, it is in arriving in Mauritania that the real Dakar experience will begin.
This will be followed by mainly speedy stretches punctuated by spaced out dune fields, as far as 1 km apart.
Assistance vehicle will take the special route on 100 km.
11:18 NIGHT WATCH - January 4, 2005
Mechanical worries, late arrivals, injuries, bad luck and withdrawals... All you need to know about what happened on the bivouac during the night.
22h36 -- De Rooy: "sh... happens!
Shortly before 23h00, the youngest of the De Rooy family eventually made it to the Smara bivouac in a well-battered DAF truck. The night was to be long... After suffering a serious crash, not only did Gerard have to cope with the deception of letting the Kamaz take control of the race while he was comfortably leading, he also has to spend the night working on his truck. in order to eventually start Stage 5. Crashed on its side at km 310, the DAF n516 was put back on its wheels with the help of the Kamaz team, his father Jan and the fast assistance DAF. But once on the Smara bivouac, Gerard still had a smile on his face when explaining his accident: "It was very bumpy with big jumps. On one of them, the truck lost balance, the rear wheel was stuck in a hole and we pivoted before crashing on the side. There are days like that. Sh... happens". Time then to start working on the monster machine.
23h30 -- 3 hours lost and 4 to repair for Masuoka
The whole Mitsubishi assistance team did all they could for Hiroshi Masuoka to have a brand new car for the start of the Smara-Zouerat stage. The Japanese driver indeed lost around three hours due to a mechanical problem and finally made it to the bivouac at 19h30 in a damaged vehicle. It was time for the mechanics to change the front transmission. It took 4 hours to repair, thanks to the help of the mechanics who usually work on the other official cars.
0h00 -- Complete check-up on Vatanen's car
In the late hours of the night (or early of he morning) the Nissan team was still working on the cars and especially on Ari Vatanen's pickup after the Finn had complained about transmission problems during g the day's stage. The car was totally checked in order to be in perfect condition for the very demanding stag 5 and its first dunes of the rally.
1h30 -- Everyone at work at Euromaster
After working on all the bikes and cars that they normally take care of, the Euromaster team started this time taking care of their own trucks. A complete check that also concerned the assistance vehicles before the dunes to come and the second part of the rally.
2h10 -- A Kamaz crashes
After a series of changes on the Kamaz truck of Ilzigar Mardeev, a truck member and a mechanic took the vehicle on a test run outside the bivouac. The two team members hit a pavement before losing control of the truck and crashing on its side. Both were seriously injured and taken to a close by hospital. The truck was totally wrecked and Mardeev forced to retire from the race.
2h43 -- De Rooy still at work
In the DAF team, the De Rooy family was still at work. Father Jan supervising the work of son Gerard on the damaged truck. Despite the helping hand of the entire team members, nothing was yet decided whether to carry on the race of not.
3h00 -- The absent
213 bikes made it to the bivouac. Miguel Agullo Gonzalez, Franck Weissner and Robert Knecht were still expected. 149 cars had also made it, 10 were still expected. 65 trucks were also in the bivouac.
13:22 Coma leads at CP1
Overall leader Marc Coma (KTM -- n6) has clocked the best time at CP1 (km 245). He is riding with Caldecott (KTM -- n23) who took off 2 minutes ahead of him at the start of the special. Coma therefore has a 1'56" on the Australian rider. Third is Meoni (KTM -- n4) at 3'58. 206 riders started the special and 18 have made it to CP1.
13:26 Coma leads at CP2
Marc Coma (KTM -- n6) was still the fastest at CP2 (km 312). The Spaniard had a 18" lead on Meoni (KTM -- n4) and 3' on Despres (KTM -- n2). Andy Caldecott (KTM -- n23) lost a lot of time between the first two CPs and appears to have had trouble in a sand portion of the special. He made it to CP2 with a 7'02 deficit on Coma.
13:26 Caldecott in trouble
At km 340, Andy Caldecott (KTM -- n23) was still expected far far behind the bike leaders. Race leader Coma was still leading ahead of Despres and Meoni. The best bikers were seen at speeds close to 180km/h.
13:27 Wheel worries for Peter
Just before the start of the day's special, Stephane Peterhansel (MIT -- n306) hit a rock and damaged his right rear wheel. He stopped to repair taking one of Nani Roma's spare wheels. The Frenchman was able to start the special in due time.
13:53 Grezes retires from race
At km 44, Frenchman Yannick Grezes (BMW -- n85) was forced to retire from the rally with a broken back suspension on his bike.
13:57 None starters this morning
12 cars failed to start the day's special : Lohr (n336), Belmondo (n338), Pinard (n356), Teinturier (n371), Doskocil (n372), Dubrisay (n383), Ribas (n400), Sanchis (n406), D'Herbigny (n433), Andrieux (n437), Grigoletto (n439), Dupriez (n453).
13:59 Meoni in the lead at CP3
At the third check point of the bike special (km 421), Fabrizio Meoni had clocked the fastest time with a 3'34" lead on Ullevalseter (KTM -- n5). Third was Cox (KTM -- n3) at 5'47", followed by Despres (KTM -- n2) at 7'41". Early leader of the special, Marc Coma (KTM -- n6), appeared to have lost precious time between CP2 and CP3, in the dunes. Coma went through CP3, 12'20" adrift.
14:02 Leaders at km 119
The leading five cars have made it at km 119 of the special... No overtaking yet with McRae (NIS -- n308) ahead of De Villiers (NIS -- n314), Kleinschmidt (VW -- n310) and Al Attiyah (BMW -- n318): the exact starting order.
14:03 Kleinschmidt full speed ahead
At km 205, Jutta Kleinschmidt (VW -- n310) was seen overtaking Giniel De Villiers (NIS -- n314). Colin McRae who took off in first position of the special was still in front. The leading cars were 40kms from the first CP.
14:34 Gordon crashes
Robby Gordon (VW -- n317) suffered a serious crash after CP1 (10kms before CP2). The US driver and his co-driver appear to be OK and are trying to put the car back on its wheels.
14:44 McRae leads at CP2
At the second CP (km 312), Colin McRae (NIS -- n308) had the best time so far. The Scot has a 36" lead on Saby (VW -- n307). Third is Peterhansel (MIT -- n306) at 2'26" followed by Al Attiyah (BMW -- n318) at 2'30 and Schlesser (SCH -- n300) at 3'.
14:45 Meoni wins special
Favrizio Meoni (KTM -- n4) has clinched the best time of the day's special. The Italian beat Pal-Anders Ullevalseter (KTM -- n5) by 1'38". Third is Alfie Cox (KTM -- n3) at 2'58" and Despres (KTM -- n2) at 4'37". Despres takes command of the overall with a 35" lead on Coma (KTM -- n6).
14:59 Gordon working on the car
After crashing his Volkswagen Race Touareg, Robby Gordon (n317) was seen repairing his vehicle. It appears he has front break and gear box worries and is awaiting an assistance car. Meanwhile Giniel De Villiers (NIS -- n314) suffered a puncture at km 360.
15:01 Griffiths quits
At km 311, UK's John Griffiths (HON -- n193) suffered a crash and was forced to retire from the race with a broken wrist.
16:04 Peter fastest at CP3
At km 421 (CP3), Stephane Peterhansel (MIT -- n306) had clocked the fastest time with a 5'03 advantage on Bruno Saby (VW -- n307). Third was Jean-Louis Schlesser (SCH -- n300) at 6'04", followed by Alphand (MIT -- n312) at 6'31 and Al Attiyah (BMW -- n318).
16:27 Peterhansel wins special
In a final time of 4h00'29", Stephane Peterhansel (MIT -- n306) clinched his first special of this year's Dakar. The Frenchman beat compatriot Bruno Saby (VW -- n307) by 7'26" while Luc Alphand (MIT -- n312) finished at 9'17" and Jean-Louis Schlesser at 11'07.Bruno Saby becomes the overall leader of the race with a 40" advantage on Alphand.
16:49 McRae quits the race
After suffering a crash at km 410, Colin McRae (NIS- n308) was taken back to the Zouerat bivouac by helicopter. The Scot appears to be injured and was therefore forced to withdraw from the race.
17:03 Gordon still stopped
After his crash just before CP2 (km 300), Robby Gordon (VW -- n317) was still working on his car. He tried, twice to carry on the race, but had to stop again. It appears he has major worries on the rear part of his Race Touareg
17:36 Masuoka second on the day
A very late starter (121st), Hiroshi Masuoka (MIT -- n309) finished second of the special at 5'58" of his team mate Stephane Peterhansel who won the special.
18:32 Tchaguine fastest at CP3
At check point 3 (km 421), Vladimir Tchaguine (KAM -- n515) had a comfortable 9'34 lead on Hans Bekx (DAF -- n524). Third was Kabirov (KAM -- n520) at 13'30.
19:44 Another stage for Tchaguine
Vladimir Tchaguine (KAM -- n515) captured a third consecutive stage success on the Dakar. The Russian driver beat Dutchman Hans Bekx (DAF -- n524) by over 18' while team mate Kabirov (KAM -- n520) finished third at 19'17".
Tchaguine comforts his lead overall with a 25'34" advantage on Kabirov.
19:51 Gordon at CP2
After his crash at km 300, Robby Gordon (VW -- n317) was seen going through CP2 (km 312) pulled by an assistance vehicle. The American driver has serious problems with the rear of his Race Touareg.
20:58 Fire under control
A fire started in the kitchens of the Dakar bivouac due to the explosion of a neon light. It was rapidly put under control by the organisation and local authorities. No harm or injuries were sustained.