Dakar: Yamaha stages four to six report

Day 4 - Tuesday 3 January 2006 Er Rachida -- Quarzazate (Morocco) Stage four of the Dakar 2006 event, from Er Rachidia to Quarzazate in Marocco, was to be another day covered in dust. Starting from 10th position, David Frétigné (Fra) needed...

Day 4 - Tuesday 3 January 2006
Er Rachida -- Quarzazate (Morocco)

Stage four of the Dakar 2006 event, from Er Rachidia to Quarzazate in Marocco, was to be another day covered in dust. Starting from 10th position, David Frétigné (Fra) needed all his physical strength and experience to overtake his opponents along the 386 km special stage. While the leaders set out first to navigate the route, the competitors that followed were able to make up ground with less navigation efforts, despite the dusty conditions. This second stage in Morocco was less technical than the previous one and was dominated by straights and sandy plates, not the ideal battle ground for David against the leading competitors with their bigger displacement bikes which have a higher top speed. Taking full advantage of the WR450F, Frétigné managed to end the day in 7thposition, equalling his position on the provisional leader board.

Day 5 - Wednesday 4 January 2005
Quarzazate -- Tan Tan (Morocco)

A more technical stage from Quarzazate to Tan Tan (Morocco) was set out on the fifth day covering an impressive 819 km in an ideal terrain to test the durability of the Yamaha WR450F Kit Afrique. It took Frétigné exactly 4 hours to cover the 350 km special, 13 minutes behind the day's fastest competitor Despres (Fra) before arriving in the bivouac in Tan Tan. The effort to keep up with the race leaders needed 100% dedication, especially because David suffered from a knee injury due to a fall earlier on in the stage.

This led to difficulties with operating the rear break and standing on the foot pegs during technical parts of the stage. Not being able to ride as he wanted, Frétigné was taking calculated risks to keep up with the race leaders and still ended 10th fastest for the day. With 7th place overall after the third day in Africa, David prepared for a short night having to leave the bivouac at 02:00 at night for stage six.

Day 6 - Thursday 5 January 2006
Tan Tan -- Zouérat (Mauritania)

Hampered by the injury of his knee, David Frétigné left the last Moroccan bivouac as 10th rider for a 792 km long stage. Entering Mauritania the landscape changed from fast tracks to the preferential setting for the light and manoeuvrable Yamaha WR450F; dunes and camel grass. David Frétigné confirmed the positive expectations by improving his position on the leader board to a 6th position overall.

David Frétigné (Yamaha WR450F Kit Afrique - Yamaha Motor France Ipone): "I slept only for three hours last night and today's stage was very long. The first 220 km didn't feel that good. On CP1 (Check Point) I clocked the 14th time, 7 minutes behind race leader Pujol (Spa) and Coma (Spa). After that it got very interesting with the appearance of the first real dunes and camel grass. I rode quite fast and navigation wasn't really a problem so I didn't follow the tracks of the leaders. I chose a different route and that worked out well. I made up three to four minutes by doing that and ended up in eight place for the day.

My knee injury improved during the day. Alex, my physiotherapist, had a busy night yesterday. I did a good deal of stretching and he worked on the ligaments. Thanks to his work and a good bondage I had a good day without too much pain. The bike functioned perfectly all throughout the stage.

Tomorrow the start will be inversed and it should be a positive day as well, leaving together with the race leaders. Knowing that Casteu and Despres had problems today, one can say the race is now really on! We'll be having some sleepless nights and more surprises will occur during the next three days. I have to remain vigilant and concentrated, but I don't really worry since I prepared myself well."

-yamaha-

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Series DAKAR