A hard stage as foretaste All expectations of a typical Dakar-stage were met once again on today's stage from Ouarzazate to Tan Tan. Extremely fast, bumpy passages alternated between numerous jumps, and man and machine were intensely ...
A hard stage as foretaste
All expectations of a typical Dakar-stage were met once again on today's stage from Ouarzazate to Tan Tan. Extremely fast, bumpy passages alternated between numerous jumps, and man and machine were intensely strained.
Today's scene was marked by several accidents and many damaged tyres, which resulted from this very selective stage. In contrast to some prominent victims today was a relatively successful day for the X-raid pilots with fifth place for Grégoire de Mévius and sixth place for Luc Alphand in the day's standings. Alphand is in fourth place in the overall standings, with a deficit of 18:48 min. behind the leader Masuoka. De Mévius is in fifth place, 22:33 min. behind the leader.
Luc Alphand: "Tomorrow we will be leaving Morocco and I am 4th overall. This is perfect. I was expecting to be 7th or 8th at this stage of the rally, and further away time wise. We haven't damaged the car and it is still in prime condition. We will be able to push the X5 to the limit now that we are approaching stages set in wide-open spaces. Our car is 200 kilos heavier than the Nissans and on the tight and bumpy terrain we have had so far, it is harder for us to be competitive. We will perform better when we will have more space. Anyway, the X5 is running well and is reliable. At the beginning of the timed stage, de Villiers overtook me and he was driving like he was possessed. I could not follow him. After that, I was lucky to drive with little dust in front of me but, behind me, I couldn't see anything. I don't feel that I deliberately blocked McRae, he just couldn't overtake me. Yesterday, I did not get a 5 minute penalty like Gregoire did. I was following Schlesser when I saw him making a U-turn for the GPS point and I just followed him."
Grégoire de Mévius: "The track was not as bad as we thought it would be, but there were still a lot of moguls. On a few of the jumps, we had some hairy moments when the back of the car tried to overtake us on landing. The car is always trying to land on its nose after a high jump. Nevertheless, the car reacts much better compared to last year's. Anyway, we are not as quick as the Mitsubishis and Nissans on this type of terrain. In the timed stage, there was a difficult stream. It was like riding a trial course littered with large holes and rocks. I am disappointed with the 5-minute penalty we were given yesterday for driving more than 200 metres away from a GPS point. Hopefully, I don't think that it will matter at the end of the rally. It was where the locals blocked the oued and they were sending us the wrong way. The rules say that we should have driven back to check the GPS point".