Terrific day for Gerard de Rooy. Kabirov wins Special; De Rooy almost whole Special in command. "I've waited twice for my cousin Hans and we had a natural break. Otherwise we would have won. Nevertheless I'm relieved. It was a terrific day. We...
Terrific day for Gerard de Rooy. Kabirov wins Special; De Rooy almost whole Special in command.
"I've waited twice for my cousin Hans and we had a natural break. Otherwise we would have won. Nevertheless I'm relieved. It was a terrific day. We left our marks".
Gerard de Rooy takes the 4th place in the overall standing and perhaps........
The second marathon stage from Ayoûn el' Atroûs to Tidjikja was a Sand-Special, in the beginning only small dunes but later on they became denser. So a speedy special, but navigation was vitally important. A Special to gain time or loose time. Again a tough Special. Ari Vatanen also experienced this after 10 kilometers when he hit a tree. His Nissan broke in two and that meant the end of the rally for the Finn. He will certainly think back to the 26th edition of Le DAKAR with mixed feelings, a rally that only brought him bad luck.
The bikes left at 08.00 a.m. without number 11, Coma, an experienced pilot. At the end 75 bikes, 70 cars and 41 trucks started.
The Russian supremacy of the Kamaz couple Kabirov-Tchaguine revealed itself already after 180 kilometers at checkpoint 1. The "2nd" Russian passed 1st, the overall leader followed at 1.15 minute. Hans Stacey was at a splendid 3rd place at 4.43 minutes. De Azevedo followed at 6.52 minutes and Gerard de Rooy at 7.55 minutes. Loprais needed 11.08 minutes more.
The track to checkpoint 2 was a very fast one. Gerard de Rooy overtook Tchaguine, Stacey and De Azevedo, but was still 7.23 minutes after Kabirov. Tchaguine needed 10.54 minutes more, Stacey 15.17 minutes and De Azevedo 20.16 minutes. Karel Loprais, who stated yesterday already that he was fed up, lost 22.13 minutes. Hans Bekx followed at almost half an hour.
At checkpoint 3 it appeared that Gerard de Rooy was fastest. Kabirov had to give up 7.15 minutes and Tchaguine 10 minutes. Hans Stacey passed the 412-kilometre point 25.39 minutes later. At that moment, de Rooy takes the virtual third place behind Tchaguine and De Azevedo, as Kabirov had only an advantage of 2.33 minutes on him while Loprais, in the overall standing, was 17.45 minutes ahead of De Rooy. At this point, the Brazilian De Azevedo looses almost 50 minutes, but suffers serious problems on his truck. Bekx passed 6th at almost 43 minutes and todays biggest looser, also yesterday's winner Karel Loprais, needed even 1.02.03 hour more than the Dutch gold crest.
In the last 125 kilometers, Kabirov and De Rooy are into a face-to-face confrontation. The Russian pulls out all the stops and takes almost unacceptable risks, which Gerard keeps himself to his task: reaching Dakar. Besides, young De Rooy knows that he will be on the 4th spot. "We've waited twice for my cousin Hans and we had a natural break. Otherwise we would have won. We are very relieved; it was a terrific day. We did a good job. Even when the Organization wanted us to avoid a marsh, I took the side. That's where I gained a lot. When we thought that Hans was coming, it appeared to be Kabirov. Pity. We let him pass. From that moment he carried on like a madman. I wasn't in the mood; the goal is to reach Dakar.
Finally he finished just 1.11 minute at Kabirov. Tchaguine had a holiday-trip and finished 3rd at 31.44 minutes. Hans Stacey made his name in Dakar and finished 4th at 33.21 minutes. De Azevedo finally finished 6th. He lost 53.37 minutes. Also the second Tatra pilot, Loprais had a bad day. He lost 59.40 minutes and finished just behind Hans Bekx at a 9th place.
"De Azevedo is struggling, so everything is possible tomorrow. I'm less than 3 minutes at Kabirov and about 27 minutes at the Brazilian. We''' see tomorrow. Anyhow I'll watch my step. I'm so close now. I have to live up to my name," said an elated De Rooy.
Tchaguine can hardly loose his fourth victory. He doesn't take any risk already for days. He has a 1.06.21 hour advantage on De Azevedo, 1.31.10 hour at teammate Kabirov and 1.34.54 at the young Dutchman. Loprais takes the 5th spot at 2.15.38 hours. Bekx and Stacey take the 8th and 9th place.
Cyril Despres was whole day long fastest in the motorbike league. He gained his 3rd victory. Cox finished 2nd at 1.23 minutes and Roma 3rd at 4.14 minutes. The Spaniard, who got lost already early in the special and fell of his bike, performed very well although he lost a lot of time. He even stayed ahead of Richard Sainct. He finished 4th at 6.29 minutes. Fretigne finished 5th at 9.22 minutes.
Finally Nani Roma did very well. He increased his lead at Sainct to 9.40 minutes. Despres takes the 3rd place, being 41.25 minutes at the leader and Cox is 4th at 43.43 minutes.
In the car league, Colin McRae was on the lead for about 135 kilometers. Than he was overtaken by the BMW from Luc Alphand. Just before checkpoint 3 after 423 kilometer, McRae was fastest for a little while, but they changed again and Alphand was back on the lead. In the meanwhile it became a real battlefield for the factory pilots. After Vatanen dropped out of the race, Gregoire de Mevius got problems too. He lost over an hour as he damaged his rear wheel. Volkswagen pilot Saby, suffered mechanical problems and lost a lot of ground, the same goes for Giniel de Villiers who suffered a puncture. Also the lesser gods had their problems, which resulted in three dropouts before they reached checkpoint 1.
Luc Alphand gained his 2nd stage victory. McRae was closest but also had to hand-in 14.20 minutes. Peterhansel just looked at it and laughed. Without taking any risk he finished 3rd at 18.30 minutes, ahead of Schlesser, team mate Masuoka, Kleinschmidt and de Villiers.
Peterhansel keeps command with another 3 days to go. Hiroshi Masuoka follows at 1.05.04 hour. Schlesser takes the 3rd place at 2.31.44 hours and Alphand is 4th at 3.38.29 hours.
Tomorrow, the competitors have to deal with a special of 579 kilometers, after a night without any assistance. The ride to the coast to Nouakchott promises to give a lot of horrors, including a lot of camel grass and an off-road track of 200 kilometers.
One day before they reach Dakar this might still cause upsets in the overall standing.
To be continued . . . . .