Dakar Rally on the Straight. 62 vehicles started for Stage 15 at Luxor today in the morning, which had to be managed without support of the GPS satellite navigation system. Numerous changes of direction required permanent concentration of the ...
Dakar Rally on the Straight.
62 vehicles started for Stage 15 at Luxor today in the morning, which had to be managed without support of the GPS satellite navigation system. Numerous changes of direction required permanent concentration of the co-pilots in order to guide their team mates on the smoothest possible way to the finish of the stage at Abu Rish.
As winner of the last stage, X-raid pilot Luc Alphand on his BMW X5 had to lead the field with a "road opening" so to speak he had to determine the way without any tyre track of other cars as an orientation. Alphand started the race restrained and as a result after 200 kilometres he had to let overtake "Canon Ball" Ari Vatanen, as he entitled the Finn yesterday. 170 kilometres before the finish of the special stage a puncture forced the X-raid team into a delay of 9 minutes. In order to avoid needless risk, Luc Alphand did not push too hard and had to be satisfied with a seventh place, 18:51 minutes behind day winner Vatanen. In total, Alphand is only about 10 minutes behind Jutta Kleinschmidt on ninth place.
An early call and stamina will be tomorrow's (Saturday) motto, as the remaining competitors will start for the last but one stage at the Dakar 2003 and at the same time for the longest stage of the event. The cars will already start at 2:05 o 'clock with a liaison (413 km) and the total stage-distance of 828 kilometres maintains plenty of danger points to disperse the whole classification. Even if the special stage will only be 365 kilometres long, man and engine on the stony tracks will be next to the limit. The last stage before finish line comes into sight will lead through the Sinai Mountains where green valleys and rocky peaks have to be crossed by turns.