Dakar: Nissan Dessoude stage nine report

The rally caravan has finally arrived in Atar. On the last day before the scheduled rest, Team Nissan France Dessoude put in a fine performance. Carlos Sousa has now taken 4th place overall, while Gregoire de Mevius set the sixth-fastest time in...

The rally caravan has finally arrived in Atar. On the last day before the scheduled rest, Team Nissan France Dessoude put in a fine performance. Carlos Sousa has now taken 4th place overall, while Gregoire de Mevius set the sixth-fastest time in the special stage.

Carlos Sousa put in the best performance the day, climbing to 4th place in the overall classification : "A good day, but a difficult stage. A lot of stones and a lot of sand. Stones, sand, stones, sand ... all through the day. The car is going well at the moment, apart from a small worry with the suspension.

We have to solve this problem quickly, so that we don't lose time every day. It would really be a shame. We will do all we can to retain this 4th place in the overall classification..."

Gregoire de Mevius set a fine time, finishing sixth in the stage classification. Just the thing to improve his morale after his misadventure between Zouerat and Tichit : " It was a really fun stage. We stopped for nearly ten minutes by Alain and Nasser, who had a very big crash. They are doing well, but it really shook me to see that. It was a good stage from a driving point of view, but it was important to avoid the stones. We overtook a lot of cars, at least forty, but it went well. Thank you Sentinel ! Our exhaust was broken, and we could smell burning. We stopped twice to let the tyre pressure down before the sandy parts. The sand was quite strange, very soft and impossible to gain speed. We also did quite well on the navigation two or three times. "

Still in the race, Benoît Rousselot and his Pathfinder T1 set the 30th time in the special stage. The driver from Nancy, on his first rally raid experience, is continuing his route. A real baptism of fire...

Kenjiro Shinozuka and Pascal Maimon, with their Nissan Pickup, were among the victims of the Zouerat-Tichit special stage. Unable to continue after their crash, they explained why the stage turned out to be so difficult. Stuck in the sand, lost, having suffered mechanical problems or just having run out of fuel, many of the 2005 Dakar competitors found themselves spread across the Mauritanian desert, a number of them spending the night under the stars. As for Kenjiro Shinozuka and Pascal Maimon (Nissan Pickup nr 319), the adventure came to a halt in a much more abrupt fashion. "120 km into the stage, on a flat and very fast section, the car took off in a dip," the Japanese driver explained, a few hours before returning to Paris. "We rolled a number of times. I was not hurt, but Pascal is slightly injured. Nothing too serious, but I was very worried for him. I am very disappointed."

A few metres from him, Pascal Maimon was considering the situation. "It appears that I may have a fractured sternum," he explained, wearing a surgical collar. "But the disappointment is the worst thing to deal with. We had decided to take things easy, as we could not compete with the factory cars, but we were caught out."

An experienced co-driver, Pascal Maimon took the time, despite the fatigue and pain, to explain why so many competitors had difficulties on this stage, which was apparently within their capabilities. "We already did part of it in 2002, and it was not that difficult," he explained. "But yesterday, at the start, there was a really violent sand storm.

I had never seen such strong wind or such low visibility. It was as if we were in the fog, in the dark, without any reference points. The road book said we had to look for the top of the cliffs in order to find the passes, but we could only follow the bearings, according to the GPS. The problem is that the GPS shows the shortest route, but not necessarily the fastest, as there can be sand dunes in between. This time, you could not anticipate anything, as you could not see further than 50 m. And, for example, if you arrive at El Ghallâouiya facing the wrong way, you find yourself buried in the dunes, and quite inevitably you get stuck in the sand. That's the sort of thing that everyone encountered. The only solution is to drive at a moderate pace, to take the time to turn around, to find another way into the dunes. Experience counts for a lot." But half of the competitors in the bike category had never taken part in the Dakar...

Tomorrow will see a long-awaited rest day for all the survivors of this 27th Dakar. A well-earned rest after the recent difficulties encountered in this race, which is far from over...

-dessoude-

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Series Dakar
Drivers Carlos Sousa , Pascal Maimon , Kenjiro Shinozuka , Gregoire de Mevius , Benoit Rousselot