Would you care for a few more dunes?
All the Team Dessoude crews made it back yesterday. Isabelle, Christian, Frederic and Pierrick had all conquered the dunes magnificently. But this morning, they were faced with another ration of dunes, with the Copiapo loop and another fine performance from the drivers... Finally, a more traditional day for the Dessoude drivers on the 2011 Dakar!
The dunes look like becoming one of Team Dessoude's specialities, as once again the three surviving cars and Pierrick Bonnet's motorbike shone during the special stage. However, Andre Dessoude remains realistic : " We can see that everything is going well this evening. We still have plenty of work, and the crews are now very tired, but we are still going. However, it is far from over !
Tomorrow's special stage is another tough one, especially for cars which have been through a lot, and crews who are, at the very least, tired.
Last year, the Fiambala section and the famous white dunes swallowed up many competitors. And talking of competitors, the list of retirements does not fit on one page any more, which tells you that this Dakar 2011 is definitely living up to all its promises.
As far as today's race was concerned, I have to mention the very fine performance from Fred Chavigny, who was up with the factory cars all day in the T2 category for production cars. As for Christian and Isabelle, very good, as usual ! "
Talking of Christian Lavieille, he really enjoyed his day, but for one factor in particular : " I had a very tasty plate of pasta for lunch at midday, something I hadn't been able to do for a very long time. We got out of the special stage very early, thanks to Jean Michel's excellent navigation. "
As far as performances go, there are not many on the Dakar who can finish under 30 minutes behind Sainz or Al Attiyah.
Christian, despite getting a penalty yesterday for being late at the start, is in 8th position in the overall classification, and is the leading independent, behind the untouchable factory cars. To be so close to the manufacturers is something which fully satisfies the tuner from Saint Lф, which shows in concrete fashion the quality of the Norman work.
Christian, once again, had a excellent special stage, despite a slight problem of under-inflation of the tyres in the first part of the tunes, which affected his top speed.
Isabelle and Thierry Delli Zotti were also credited with another excellent special stage. Their only problem today was a puncture : " Between the two sectors of dunes, there was a difficult section, very rocky, with a steep-sided river to cross. Unfortunately we got a puncture at the back, on the inside. One of the inconveniences with the buggy is that we have a tyre inflating/deflating system. So you have to dismantle the tubes and connectors, and it takes around 15 minutes. We got through the dunes with no problems, most notably the impressive uphill sections, by quite deliberately choosing not to follow the tracks we could see in the sand. It was the right decision.
Tomorrow is Fiambala, with more dunes, and particularly difficult ones. Even if we will be back in Argentina, there is still a long way to Buenos Aires... "
A long way, perhaps too far away, is also what the Team Dessoude's sole biker, Pierrick Bonnet, is thinking, after two difficult days : " Yesterday, certainly due to exhaustion and a lack of concentration, I had a heavy fall when going down a big dune, going over the handlebars. It really brought me back to earth with a bump.
My shoulder is sore, so luckily the team's physiotherapist is efficient. Today, it was the bike that gave me problems, as I found myself without clutch control all day. It was not easy to get through trial-like sections, or to go over the top of dunes in first gear without stalling. Tomorrow is Fiambala... it was in those dunes that my Dakar came to an end last year..."
Frederic Chavigny and Willy Alcaraz had another ideal day, up with and even in front of the T2 (production category) factory cars : " I am really pleased to be still going, especially when I look at the list of retirements. We got through many potential traps, and our aim is still to finish on the T2 podium. In the meantime, we are having fun. "
Tomorrow : Copiapo/ Chilechito -- Liaison 686 km / Special Stage 176 km A very long liaison to cross back over the Andes and return to Argentina. The stage is difficult, including the white Fiambala dunes. These proved fatal to more than 30% of the competitors last year. .. Worrying...
-source: team dessoude