Dakar: BMW stage 7 report

Joy and sorrow for team X-raid 'Get up early' was the slogan for today's day of competition. The cars went to the start at 3:00 in the night and the longest leg of this year's Rally Dakar, with a distance of 1,055 kilometres, lay before the ...

Joy and sorrow for team X-raid

'Get up early' was the slogan for today's day of competition. The cars went to the start at 3:00 in the night and the longest leg of this year's Rally Dakar, with a distance of 1,055 kilometres, lay before the competitors. The 701 kilometre long special stage, which led through the western part of the Sahara towards Atar, began after a 345-km liaison stage and the crossing of boarder to Mauritania.

X-raid driver Grégoire de Mevius steered his BMW X5 with superior ease through all the difficulties of this stage and occupies fourth place in the day's standings, 21:26 min. behind today's winner Hiroshi Masuoka. De Mevius was satisfied at the finish: "We found a good rhythm again today. I drove somewhat restrained, in order not to provoke a defect, while trying not to lose too much time doing it. Tomorrow we're not entitled to a complete service, only to the help from our escort-truck, and that's why I didn't want to be too hard on the car today. A place on the podium is within reach, but the rally is still very, very long." With a deficit of 43:59 min. from the leader Masuoka, the Belgian is in fourth place in the overall standings and within attacking distance of the top-three. De Mevius is only 2:30 minutes behind the third-placed Colin McRae.

Luc Alphand on the other hand, in the second X-raid BMW X5, had to struggle with problems. After about 97 kilometres he had to do some repair work on his BMW X5: "One of our drive shafts broke and the repair cost us nearly 50 minutes. Afterwards, we were making very good progress but, after about 500 kilometres, we had a series of three tyre damages within a few kilometres of one another. I held back on the gas somewhat seeing that we didn't have any more spare tyres. With the deficit we have now, the chances are slim that we'll get a place on the podium. Now we're going to drive for Grégoire and still try to achieve a good placing if possible." Alphand was 13th to reach the day's destination and the Frenchman is now in seventh place in the overall standings, 2:07 hours behind the leader.

Skilful driving and navigation are demanded once again from driver and co-pilot on tomorrow's eight leg (Atar -- Tidjika). The 355 assessment-kilometres will go through tight passes and over soft dune fields.

-bmw-

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About this article
Series Dakar
Drivers Colin McRae , Luc Alphand , Hiroshi Masuoka , Gregoire de Mevius