Dakar: Stage two report

Adios' and thank you Barcelona After the spectacular super special staged in Castelldefels, just outside Barcelona, day 2 of the Telefonica Dakar 2005 saw the competitors head south for a long 920km liaison to Granada. A long, very long day,...

Adios' and thank you Barcelona

After the spectacular super special staged in Castelldefels, just outside Barcelona, day 2 of the Telefonica Dakar 2005 saw the competitors head south for a long 920km liaison to Granada. A long, very long day, for both man and machine with a stopover in Castellon for a CP and lunch break. Farewell Barcelona and 'gracias' for your warm welcome!

Barcelona will once again be remembered for its fine welcome to the Dakar rally. For the third visit of the Catalan city, the rally witnessed four terrific days. First of all in the Palau Sant Jordi, on the Montjuic hill that hosted some of the greatest moments of the 92 Olympics where every single vehicle was checked and re-checked during scrutineering by the race inspectors, under the careful eye of the Catalan fans.

But the real show was to take place on the beach of Castelldefels and what a spectacular event it was... Thousands of fans massed around the race circuit, soft sand, jumps, falls, drama and three fine winners in David Fretigne (YAM -- n12) in the bike category, Robby Gordon (VW -- n321) on four wheels and Hans Bekx (DAF -- n524) in the truck race.

Meanwhile, a lot of privateers found it tricky just making it the finish line of the 6km course. The road to Dakar will be tough, very tough for many, especially on African soil.

The final touch to the Barcelona 'fiesta' happened this morning on the official start podium of the Placa de Espanya. The courageous competitors of the World's biggest rally-raid received a final 'adios' from fans, friends and family. All 462 vehicles went through the symbolic start gate... All but one!

The Dakar adventure is often full of despair and very bad experiences. And sometimes even the worst moments occur before the rally has even started. Unlike many, Denis Comte certainly want keep a fond memory of Barcelona. Shortly after a super special he finished in 214th position, the Frenchman discovered that his van had been broken into and that all his valuables had disappeared. Impossible in such conditions to take off for the 9000km of the rally. Poor old Denis will have spent months financing his Dakar project and will finally have completed only 6km of special in the race!

Meanwhile, bikes, cars and trucks were heading to Granada, 920km further south, via Castellon for a check point and lunch break. Some took longer than others and were still awaited at the CP late in the afternoon while the main favourites on two wheels were expected at around 18h00 on the finish podium of Granada.

After a night's rest (longer for some than for others!) the competitors will face a last European test tomorrow with a fast and spectacular special staged on a military ground outside Granada. After that, it'll be time for the first kilometres on African soil...

-www.dakar.com

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About this article
Series Dakar
Drivers Robby Gordon , David Fretigne , Hans Bekx