Dakar: Kwikpower Mercedes stage three report

First long stage across Morocco features dust and rocks -- Ellen Lohr confident Er Rachidia /Morocco -- The next step to Dakar has been successfully mastered. In the evening of 2 nd January, Ellen Lohr and her co-pilot, Detlef Ruf, reached the...

First long stage across Morocco features dust and rocks -- Ellen Lohr confident

Er Rachidia /Morocco -- The next step to Dakar has been successfully mastered. In the evening of 2 nd January, Ellen Lohr and her co-pilot, Detlef Ruf, reached the finish of the third stage of the Dakar Rally with their Mercedes-Benz rally prototype in a content and confident mood. The 314-kilometre special stage across Morocco's north had been dusty and rocky and in the early stages of the special, while following another car in a dense cloud of dust, they were hit by a rock that damaged both left tyres. Following the tyre change, that has to be conducted by a car's crew, during a special stage, and took some ten minutes, Lohr and Ruf opted for an extremely careful attitude. After all, they had just one more spare tyre for nearly 300 kilometres of special stage and a total mileage of 400 kilometres without any service opportunity being available.

The fourth stage, taking place today, on 3rd January, will lead from Er Rachidia, to the southwest, to Quarzazate. Following a 56-kilometre liaison, the competitors will have to deal with a 386-kilometre special stage followed by another 197 liaison kilometres.

Ellen Lohr: "Africa -- at last. While the first two stages, in Europe, were dominated by mud, the first African stage, held in Morocco's north, featured dust and rocks. We were running competitively until we damaged both our left tyres in the dense dust. The dust is truly massive; it makes you feel as if driving towards a wall. At halftime we closed in on a group of four cars that were clearly slower than us. But it's just impossible to overtake somebody while flying blind. That's the disadvantage when you're driving in the midfield. Still, I'm confident. The M-Class prototype and the service cars are running trouble-free and the ORC crew from Stuttgart does a professional job. There are still another 13 days to go until we will reach Dakar ."

-kwikpower-

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About this article
Series Dakar
Drivers Ellen Lohr , Detlef Ruf