Gerard de Rooy 2nd after first real Special; Jan finished 11th January 03, 2005 -- "There we were, together with Kabirov waiting for the train, even the Dutch railways don't have such a long one" It finally started. At least for the cars and...
Gerard de Rooy 2nd after first real Special; Jan finished 11th
January 03, 2005 -- "There we were, together with Kabirov waiting for the train, even the Dutch railways don't have such a long one"
It finally started. At least for the cars and the trucks. Sports Director Patrick Zaniroli had to disappoint the motor bikers when he cancelled the Special for the two-wheelers early this morning because of the heavy fog and the lack of visibility. Some years ago the same happened in Morocco. The motor bikers went off in convoy to checkpoint 1 in a filthy mood to checkpoint 1 and from there on they used the normal asphalt road to Agadir.
The experts in the car and truck category enjoyed the prospect to go into the desert. It was heavy going for the numerous newcomers. Not only were the nerves playing tricks on them but also the treacherous weather conditions. Besides, the first real kilometres were complicated due to the huge rainfall during the last few weeks. The riders were from the beginning faced with places that were hard to wade through and the track was a pool alternated with very dusty parts.
70% of the track was new and the competitors were faced with very narrow and sinuous paths.
In the truck category, last year's winner Vladimir Tchaguine left his mark on this first real occasion. On this dusty but also mud track that was studded with stones he clocked the fastest time: 1.28.38 hours. Gerard de Rooy finished at a favourable 2nd place that could have been much better. Together with the Kamaz truck from Firdaus Kabirov he had to wait 5 minutes for the train. "There we were, together with Kabirov waiting for the train; even the Dutch railways don't have such a long one", Gerard joked from behind the wheel. Arno Slaats adds: "The road book told us that this could happen and at the same time it happened to us. It cost us more than 5 minutes. A terrible pity. We did try to go along the front of the train but a man with a flag stopped us. It was quite a fast Special despite the dust and so now and than the drenched parts," said Gerard de Rooy's mechanic.
Jan de Rooy wasn't as lucky as Gerard. Until checkpoint 2, after 88 kilometres, he drove in 3rd position. A navigation error cost him a few minutes which resulted in an 11th place, 11 seconds after Hugo Duisters and 7.07 minutes after the last year's winner. Hugo's navigator, Yvo Geusens wants to emphasize that this was not the intention: "It's not that intention that we finish ahead of our leader. However this can happen because of the different starting order."
So Tchaguine finished 1st, Gerard de Rooy 2nd at 1.34 minute, Kabirov 3rd at 1.57 minute and team-mate Mardeev took the 4th place at 4.01 minutes. Tatra pilot Tomecek finished 5th at 4.17 minutes. Hans Stacey took the 6th place at 5.13 minutes. Karel Loprais 7th at 5.15 minutes and de Azevedo 8th at 5.35 minutes. Wuf van Ginkel drove his Ginaf across the finish being 6.52 minutes behind the Russian winner and took the 9th place. Hugo Duisters finished 10th at 6.56 minutes, just before Jan de Rooy who needed 7.07 minutes more than the stage winner. Hans Bekx finished 12th at 8 minutes.
Tchaguine took over the lead in the overall list. Gerard de Rooy follows at 1.10 minute and takes the 37th place in the overall league from the combined car/truck category, a position that might be important when they start with the Special of 381 kilometres tomorrow. A Special from Agadir to Smara. Kabirov holds the same time as Gerard. The third Kamaz Mardeev takes the 4th place at 3.54 minutes of his stable mate and Tomecek is 5th at 4.40 minutes. Stacey is 6th, de Azevedo 7th and Jan de Rooy takes the 8th place at 6.35 minutes from the leader. Bekx is 10th at 6.49 minutes and Duisters takes the 11th place at 7 minutes sharp.
Toon van Genugten had to stop after he fell on his site at kilometre 6. He is on his way back to Tangier.
In the car category the American Robby Gordon was fastest with a time of 1.14.01 hour. He was 53 seconds faster than last year's winner, Stephane Peterhansel. Bruno Saby, winner in 1993, finished 3rd at 1.08 minutes. Luc Alphand took the 4th place at 1.24 minute just before Jutta Kleinschmidt and Juha Kankkunen who won the rally already in 1988. Ari Vatanen finished 9th, being 3.31 minutes behind Gordon. Colin McRae, who did 2 fast Specials in Europe in order to have a favourable starting position, had to give up 3.47 minutes.
Marcel van Vliet was again the fastest Dutchman. He finished 37th, 15.23 minutes behind the winner of the day. Cor Euser proved to be a feared rally rider. He finished 39th at 16.32 minutes.
Gordon is the new leader in the overall list of the car category. He is 59 seconds ahead of Peterhansel, 1.14 minute of Saby, 1.32 minute of Alphand and 2.32 minute of Kleinschmidt. McRae takes the 10th place at 18 minutes from the American.
To be continued . . . . .