Dakar: Nissan Dessoude stage 13 report

Carlos Sousa suffers brake problems... Benoît Rousselot breaks a wheel shaft A subdued day for Team Nissan France Dessoude. Carlos Sousa had some brake problems, but this did not stop him from setting the seventh-fastest time. Benoît Rousselot...

Carlos Sousa suffers brake problems...
Benoît Rousselot breaks a wheel shaft

A subdued day for Team Nissan France Dessoude. Carlos Sousa had some brake problems, but this did not stop him from setting the seventh-fastest time. Benoît Rousselot had a broken wheel shaft, and was forced to wait for his rapid assistance.

The second Mali stage turned out to be one of the dustiest. As the bikes started just before the cars, the four- wheeled vehicles soon began to catch up with them, which brought about some tricky overtaking manoeuvres.

Carlos Sousa and Thierry Delli Zotti finished in 7th position, despite some brake problems. A fine performance for the Portuguese driver. "Yesterday's stage was very long, and we used the brakes a lot. As there was no assistance yesterday evening, I set off today with the same problem. First of all, I thought that the oil was burning, but actually, the brake pads were just worn out. The problem was not insurmountable, but it was very awkward if you wanted to really attack. The stage was not fantastic, and the real problem was the bikes. You always wonder if the biker you want to pass has heard you honk your horn, and systematically, you take a risk when you overtake them. We found ourselves behind one bike, and signalled for at least three minutes. At one point, there were cows on the side of the road .. The biker braked, but more than I did... I was on the limit, luckily he got going again at the last minute, otherwise we could not have avoided a collision. It was very dangerous." Thierry Delli Zotti will not retain any special memories of this special stage : "Quite a lot of dust, a lot of dust and not much brakes... Nothing really significant. I made a few mistakes today, once or twice. Carlos could not really drive quickly, unfortunately. A rather average day... "

Benoît Rousselot, who claimed his second T1 stage win yesterday, was less lucky today, breaking a wheel shaft. Forced to wait alongside the road for a long time, waiting for his assistance truck, Benoît finally finished the stage and is on his way to the bivouac. But what about yesterday's win ? "That special stage was really great, I was back on more familiar territory than that seen up to now. We were in the trees, and for me that is more like traditional rallying, the sort of thing I've know for the last twelve years, and I know how to make the most of it. We started off in the right group, with not too many people to overtake. For me, the stage was quite clear as far as visibility goes, I did not have too much dust. We got a bit lost in the villages. Philippe was rather stressed, as it was far from clear. And then the rhythm was different from the previous days, a bit faster. We came across Jun Mitsuhashi stuck in a ditch, he gave us a rope so we could pull him out. We did that right away, and then got going again. After that, we had around 150 km of very rough ground, where we took care of the car as much as possible. I really enjoyed the stage, and felt as if I was back in a rally. The Pathfinder is really a fun car... I adore this little beast ! We are taking great care of it, as it has to get us to Dakar."

Tomorrow, the Dakar caravan will go into Senegal, and will pause at Tambacounda. The famous crossing of the Falémé river will bring back memories to the older competitors... The start will take place in Sadiola where today's finish took place. The route leading to Tambacounda will cross the brush, through village and splashes through small rivers in Soninké. The finish line is not far away...

-nissan france-

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About this article
Series Dakar
Drivers Carlos Sousa , Benoit Rousselot