Gerard de Rooy yields to the East-European strenght Kabirov takes over the 3rd place with a 2 minutes advantage on young de Rooy 77 Bikes, 72 cars and 41 trucks were allowed to start this morning with the second part of the rally; so 190 ...
Gerard de Rooy yields to the East-European strenght
Kabirov takes over the 3rd place with a 2 minutes advantage on young de Rooy
77 Bikes, 72 cars and 41 trucks were allowed to start this morning with the second part of the rally; so 190 competitors out of the 400 that started in France. They have to do another 3.300 kilometers before they reach the beaches of Dakar.
From the start, Gerard de Rooy got going. It was quite clear on beforehand that the Tatra- and Kamaz pilots would attack with Tchaguine, the leader of the overall standing, playing the role of whipping boy. As he has an ample advantage, he could afford to let Kabirov go first in order to attach both De Rooy and Tatra-pilot De Azevedo. The competition between the Russians and the Czechs is as least as great as the battle between the Eastern bloc and DAF.
The special had a length of 231 kilometers and went across a fast track. And fast they went!
At checkpoint 1, after 59 kilometers, De Azevedo was on the lead with a 37 seconds advantage on Kabirov, 1.23 minutes on de Rooy and 1.30 minutes on Tchaguine. De Rooy than already realized that the provocation had begun: "I didn't even press the point. I just want to reach Dakar; I've discussed the matter in depth again with my father yesterday. I'm 23 years old so I will get enough opportunities in the future to go for the stand. That means that I've passed over the game and did my own race."
De Azevedo was still in command at checkpoint 2, being 28 seconds ahead of Kabirov and almost 2 minutes ahead of De Rooy who was 19 seconds ahead of Tchaguine.
When, at the finish, the smoke of battle had cleared, Kabirov had taken his chance. He finished first, 2.20 minutes ahead of de Azevedo. De Rooy took the 3rd place at 4.48 minutes. Loprais was 4th and Tchaguine 5th at 6.37 minutes. Mardeev and Hans Bekx followed.
During the liaison to Bamako De Rooy didn't know at which place he had finished: "I drove 200 kilometers in the dust of the others. It was too dangerous to overtake." At the end he was happy with his 3rd place.
In the overall standing, Gerard de Rooy has lost his 3rd place on Kabirov. Tchaguine remains the leader with a 54.24 minutes advantage on de Azevedo, 1.49.20 hour ahead of Kabirov and 1.51.21 hour ahead of Gerard de Rooy.
The "Hansy's", Bekx and Stacey, are on the 8th and 9th place in the overall league.
The Organization's hanky-panky with their regulations is still highly embarrassing. First they made the stages tough to such an extent that the competitors were eliminated by the dozen, where after they were shocked by the poor bunch of survivors in such a way that they granted a sort of amnesty so the field was, battered indeed, at strength again.
The truly sad point was Ari Vatanen's start this morning from the 4th place. The disillusioned Finn was taken in tow over a distance of 1500 kilometers to the bivouac; he arrived at the bivouac yesterday just an hour before the deadline expired. As if nothing had happened, he was allowed to start this morning, while it's almost for sure that he didn't finish last Friday's stage to Néma.
What surprises will the organization have in store the rest of the week to protect the commercial teams?
Cyril Despres was the fastest biker again. He finished with a 10.34 minutes advantage on Coma. Nani Roma took the 3rd place at 11.25 minutes and Alfie Cox was 4th at 11.57 minutes. KTM-pilot nr. 1, Richard Sainct, lost another 17.58 minutes.
Nani Roma consolidated his lead in the overall standing. Sainct takes the 2nd place at 10.08 minutes, Cox is 3rd at 28.53 minutes and Despres is 4th at 33.29 minutes.
Luc Alphand gained his first victory today. He finished 1.28 minute ahead of Schlesser and 5.40 minutes ahead of Peterhansel. Mitsubishi's last year's winner, Masuoka, took the 4th place at 623 minutes. Vatanen finished 14th, 25.38 minutes at the winner.
Peterhansel keeps command in the overall league, ahead of teammate Masuoka who passed the finish 43 seconds after him. He's now at 1.04.43 hour behind the leader. Schlesser takes the 3rd place at 2.28.26 hours. Vatanen suffered the highest time penalty, just like Jutta Kleinschmidt, so he lost all importance for the stand being 32nd at 22.37.16 hours.
Tomorrow a special with a length of 478 kilometers. The competitors will find themselves back in the Sahel. A fast, sandy track but also a lot to do for the navigators.
To be continued . . . . . .