The 13th stage is an East-European party. Tatra for the first time ahead of Kamaz. Gerard de Rooy takes the 11th place after 2 punctures and goes down to the 5th place in the overall standing. "The road book didn't tally at all, but of course...
The 13th stage is an East-European party. Tatra for the first time ahead of Kamaz.
Gerard de Rooy takes the 11th place after 2 punctures and goes down to the 5th place in the overall standing. "The road book didn't tally at all, but of course that was a problem for all competitors"
The remaining 187 competitors today did a special with a length of 478 kilometers across fast tracks in the Sahel; also a tough stage for the navigators, not only in the many villages they crossed. The final destination was Ayoûn El Atroûs, just a spot in the absolutely deserted world, in the middle of the desert.
Gerard de Rooy is very superstitious. Reason why he started with mixed feelings this morning with the 13th stage on the 14th of January, the day he headed for disaster last year.
At the bivouac in the meantime, young de Rooy enjoys the status he acquired because of his performances. But that isn't of any help in the cabin of truck number 417.
After he saw with his own eyes that Leo Donkers, who tumbled out of his cabin earlier this week, was capable to drive, the number 4 in the overall league left this morning. "Leo had a medical examination. They couldn't find anything but it gives him a lot of trouble. He can't lie nor walk but luckily he can sit," said de Rooy, who in the meantime seems to have no problem in taking over the role of team captain from his father.
It didn't start well today. Before checkpoint 1, after 139 kilometers, de Rooy suffered a puncture and a broken windscreen. It took him some time so at last he passed 11th, almost 18 minutes behind Tchaguine, but 11 minutes ahead of Kabirov, who also had bad luck. De Rooy's major rivals, Loprais and De Azevedo, passed only 5.41 c.q. 12.22 minutes after Tchaguine.
On his way to checkpoint 2, at 286 kilometers, Tchaguine suffered a puncture after 188 kilometers. Gerard de Rooy had the same problem again, just 20 kilometers before he arrived at this checkpoint. Only this time he also had to change the wheel: "This takes half an hour. It was madness, so now and than the truck couldn't get through. Narrow roads, many trees with boughs and the ground strewn with broken branches. That caused the first puncture."
Both Tatra's were fastest; first old hand Loprais; De Azevedo followed at almost 6 minutes. Tchaguine passed 7th at 19 minutes. Kabirov did a good job by overtaking Gerard de Rooy again. He needed 34.30 minutes more than the Czech Loprais. De Rooy passed 11th at 37 minutes.
Loprais was still fastest at checkpoint 3. He stayed ahead of team-mate De Azevedo with an advantage of 5.58 minutes. Mardeev, the 3rd Kamaz pilot, passed 3rd at 14.13 minutes. Tchaguine followed at 18.24 minutes, Kabirov at 29.43 minutes and Gerard de Rooy at 32.21 minutes.
At the finish it turned out that the Tatra pilots Loprais and De Azevedo were the big winners. They finished 1st and 2nd. The Brazilian lost only 4.56 minutes. Hereafter it was a Kamaz-parade. Mardeev finished 3rd at 12.30 minutes and Tchaguine 4th at 14.52 minutes. Kabirov took the 10th place at 28.26 minutes. Gerard de Rooy made up arrears at Kabirov in the final phase, he passed the finish only 32 seconds after the Russian.
Tchaguine is still the unrivalled leader in the overall standing, with a 44.26 minutes advantage on De Azevedo. Karel Loprais took over the 3rd place from Kabirov, a blow for the Russians, despite Tchaguine's strict direction. He is at 1.47.42 hour from the leader. Kabirov is 4th at 2.02.54 hours and Gerard de Rooy 5th at 2.05.27 hours. The 3rd Russian, Mardeev, takes the 6th place at 4.30.10 hours.
Bekx and Stacey take the 8th and 9th place. Performances to be proud of.
Young de Rooy was not really disappointed: "only little credit could be gained today. Almost all trucks suffered damage. It really was a day for rally riders. Just look at the results: Colin McRae first in the car league, Vatanen 3rd and in our class my cousin Hans Stacey had a terrific day. He finished 5th at 19.06 minutes. What did bother me was the road book. It didn't tally at all. If we had kept to the road book we would have gone straight through a cornfield or a fence near a hut. Tom Colsoul has been effing and blinding! This wouldn't have happened under Hubert Auriol's command."
The hero from the beginning, biker David Fretigne, gained his 3rd victory. He was with his Yamaha 3.41 minutes ahead of KTM's number 1, Richard Sainct. Nani Roma, who fell off when avoiding a cow, finished 3rd at 6.22 minutes. Lundmark followed at 8.06 minutes, Despres at 13.32 minutes. Former winner Meoni lost ground again and finished at 13.39 minutes.
Fourth KTM pilot, Nani Roma, is still on the lead despite his loss on Sainct, who follows at 7.25 minutes. Despres takes the 3rd place at 45.39 minutes. Cox moved to the 4th place at 46.34 minutes. Meoni takes the 9th place at 2.56.48 hours.
Colin McRae gained his first victory for Nissan. Teammate Giniel de Villiers followed at 7.40 minutes and the other Nissan Top shot, Ari Vatanen, finished 3rd at 8.47 minutes. Jutta Kleinschmidt did also well; she finished 5th at 23.11 minutes. Mitsubishi's top pilots Masuoka and especially Stéphane Hansel didn't care. Masuoka finished at 24.21 minutes and the French Peterhansel, who didn't take any risk, at 26.35 minutes.
He keeps command with an advantage of 1.02.29 hour on teammate Masuoka. Luc Alphand follows at a honourable distance of 3.56.59 hours from last year's number 3.
Tomorrow's Special with a length of 547 kilometers will be the most beautiful one, according the organization. The sandy track runs into small dunes, which will become denser as the course heads north. The bivouac at the end of the day will be in Tidjikja. But the remaining hero's will be alone over there, as the assistance vehicles are on their way to Nouakchott by than; the competitors will arrive here the day after. So let's hope that Gerard won't suffer any damage.
To be continued . . . . .