Dakar: Gauloises Racing stage eight report

Due to the weather condition on the Mauritanian desert since Thursday on the course of the rally, the organisation has decided to modify the race. The bad visibility has forced most of the helicopters to remain grounded. At 10.00 am today, only 96...

Due to the weather condition on the Mauritanian desert since Thursday on the course of the rally, the organisation has decided to modify the race. The bad visibility has forced most of the helicopters to remain grounded. At 10.00 am today, only 96 bikes, 59 cars and 27 trucks had completed stage 7, and 31 competitors had officially retired from the race.

The race organisation has therefore decided on the following measures :
- Cancel stage 8 between Tichit and Tidjikja.
- The authorized time for stage 7 will be longer.
- The competitors will all head to Tidjikja in liaison.

It would appear however that Jean Louis Schlesser (Gauloises Schlesser Buggy) has retired, while his team mate Jose Maria Servia has run out of petrol 150 km from the finish line in Tichit. Yesterday’s leader in the T1 class Jean Pierre Strugo (Team Gauloises Groine) and his team mate Simon Jean Joseph have also apparently been forced to retire.

BIKES

Eric Verhoef (Gauloises KTM) 34th (at 2.56’25) 29th overall (at 4.43’41)

I was on target for a good finish when I ran out of petrol. Fortunately twice other riders stopped and gave me a little bit each time and I was able to make it into the bivouac at about 11 pm last night. It was very fairplay of them and I thank them from the bottom of my heart.

CARS

Stephane Henrard (Gauloises VW Buggy) 8th (at 2.12’28) 8th overall (at 2.47’51)

We went pretty well and didn’t get in too late, but by the time we made it to the finish line we only had 2 litres of fuel left!

Jacky Loomans (Gauloises Bowler) 11th (at 3.23’05) 13th overall (at 6.01’41)

I knew there would be a problem with fuel so I took it easy all day and made it to the finish line with just enough. Apparently it was a tactic that paid off. I am a little disappointed that they have cancelled today’s stage as it penalises those of us who drove intelligently yesterday.

Thierry Delavergne (Gauloises Megane) 22nd (at 5.52’45) 27th overall (at 12.01’09)

If the special had been shorter it would have been good. As it was 250 kilometres too long. At the end we had virtually no fuel left and kept on having to stop to pump out the bottom of the tanks. The endless camel grass and soft sand meant that everybody consumed much more fuel than anticipated.

Syndiely Wade (Gauloises Nissan) 55th (at 12.11’51) 58th overall (at 17.57’22)

I only managed to get in this morning and I have to say I am delighted to be here! We only stopped twice in the night and slept each time for just 15 minutes. It was chaos out there. With the wind and the dunes and the poor visibility it was really hard to find your way. There were cars and bikes stuck all over the place. If they hadn’t delayed the start we would be out of the race – that was what we were thinking as we were driving in. I can’t describe how happy I was to discover that they had cancelled today’s special and that we could still carry on.

TRUCKS

Jan De Rooy (Gauloises De Rooy) 14th (at 5.17’51) 10th overall (at 6.25’50)

I got stuck coming off a dune and damaged the front end. Then at CP2 we ran out of fuel. We had to wait for our assistance truck to arrive and give us some more and then 30 kms from the end we passed some fuel to my son. So eventually we both managed to get to the bivouac – though our assistance truck is still stuck 250 km away with empty tanks.

Gerard De Rooy (Gauloises De Rooy) 16th (at 5.45’42) 17th overall (at 9.24’59)

We were going really well until we ran out of fuel 30 km from the end. Fortunately a car from the organisers came past carry petrol for the motorcycles and he gave us some diesel. Then we came to the pass just 5 km from Tichit, but it was impossible to descend it at night, so we had to turn back and find another way. In doing that we ran out of fuel again but we managed to meet up with my father and he was able to give us some more diesel. In all we must have lost 9 hours.

-gauloises-

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About this article
Series Dakar
Drivers Jean-Louis Schlesser , Stéphane Henrard , Syndiely Wade , José Maria Servia , Eric Verhoef , Jacky Loomans