ANDRE DESSOUDE'S JOURNAL 4th January 2006- Ouarzazate Plenty of happenings in the Nissan Dessoude Clan today, but the T2 Pathfinders are at the top of the pack. " For BenoÃ®t Rousselot and Paul Belmondo, the day went very well. They set the...
ANDRE DESSOUDE'S JOURNAL
4th January 2006- Ouarzazate
Plenty of happenings in the Nissan Dessoude Clan today, but the T2 Pathfinders are at the top of the pack.
" For Benoît Rousselot and Paul Belmondo, the day went very well. They set the two fastest times in the Production category, and, this evening, Benoît is now 29th overall, and the first T2 car. The vehicles are in perfect condition, and both look to be happy. We like to see them like that. They are putting in a very wise race, and that pays off.
Also an excellent race from Xu Lang, in one of the two Chinese Paladins. Xu and his co-driver Fabian Lurquin are 4th, meaning in the top one-third of the classification, which is very encouraging. As for Zhou Yong, he broke a suspension bearing, and had to be rescued by our race assistance truck. He is a bit late, but is continuing his Dakar apprenticeship.
Jun Mitsuhashi, in the Nissan Pickup 03, made a very good recovery. After his problems the day before, he started among the last cars, and therefore had plenty of slower competitors to overtake. This exercise is particular difficult with all this dust, but he set the 56th time, and tomorrow will be easier.
The other Pickup, driven by the Polish driver Holowczyc, had an engine problem, most probably the injector, but managed to finish the special stage. We are waiting for him to arrive in the bivouac before giving an opinion.
A final word on Carlos Sousa and his Nissan Navara. Carlos is running a wise race, taking care of his vehicle. Today he lost some time with two punctures, but nothing serious.".
The Team Dessoude drivers :
Paul Belmondo Nissan Pathfinder T2 : " Today, I don't feel I really pushed, but quite simply, I got back in the right pace, and we had no problems at all, no punctures and we didn't get stuck in the sand. As the ranks are beginning to thin out, we made a big improvement in the classification. At one stage, there were gutters of fech-fech, and plenty of cars were stuck. We just got through... Sometimes, you just have to be lucky ! "
Benoît Rousselot -- Nissan Pathfinder T2: Despite two small problems, we had a good day. I have to thank my co-driver Sylvain Poncet, who showed real good sense on two occasions. To get over the Merzouga dunes, we didn't deflate our tyres, and in a dip, we started to go round in circles. It was impossible to get out ! Sylvain suggested that I stop, facing forwards, and we let the air out to 600 grammes of pressure. And then we got out in just one go.
A bit further on, we get stuck in a corridor of fech-fech, where quite a few competitors were already stopped. Our Pathfinder was in a strange position, balanced on a ridge. Sylvain, who does a lot or four-wheel-drive raids in his profession, gave me a trick : with a bit of handbrake just as I went in reverse, the other three wheels found grip again, and we were able to get going. Thanks to him, we didn't' lose too much time...
Otherwise, our Pathfinder is still very fresh and is going perfectly. We are very careful in the rough sections and over the ditches. We have found a good pace, which doesn't wear out the vehicle. We are ready to concede time if necessary, and we will not go after the times, in order to keep the car in good condition."
Carlos Sousa -- Nissan Navara : "It was not a very good day. We had two punctures. The first came after just fifteen kilometres ... then the second at the 66 kilometre point. It was not very reassuring, on a 386 km stage, to have only one spare tyre left. Two punctures in 70 km does not give you a lot of confidence for the rest of the route. I drove carefully, always holding something in reserve. Towards the end, Jean-Marie made a small navigational mistake. We went down one track, but Jean-Marie was not certain of his choice. So we turned round, until we worked out it was the right route. I hope that everything will go better tomorrow."