Dakar Breakdown... The Dakar appears to have become paralysed, a victim of the atrocious weather conditions in Mauritania. The whole logistical organisation of the rally is still in Tichit, where the weather has not improved since yesterday.
The Dakar appears to have become paralysed, a victim of the atrocious weather conditions in Mauritania. The whole logistical organisation of the rally is still in Tichit, where the weather has not improved since yesterday. Similarly bad weather in Tidijkja is preventing the rally's aeroplanes from landing.
This morning, the decision was taken to completely cancel today's stage. The competitors will proceed to Tidijkja (where their assistance vehicles are waiting) by liaison, hoping for an improvement in the weather for tomorrow's stage, between Tidjikja and Atar.
For those who are still on the stage between Zouérat and Tichit (a significant number...), the deadline has been extended, in order to reduce the number of retirements to the minimum.
Giniel de Villiers, who finished yesterday's horrendous stage at around 9 pm, still cannot get believe what he went through : "I have never seen such a crazy stage. The conditions were really difficult and the visibility was very bad. We got badly stuck in the sand three times. We lost quite a lot of time, as the jacks to lift up the Pickup were not working. We were actually quite lucky, as there was less than a litre of fuel left when we arrived at Tichit... Last year, the terrible stage taking us to Néma appeared less difficult ... and even then, we suffered. Towards the end of the stage, the camel grass was really high, but the Pickup went through the hostile vegetation without problems. Anyway, we're here, and that's the main thing..."
As for Ari Vatanen and Tiziano Siviero, they spent the night in the dunes. A replay of 2004 for the Finnish driver, who, it appears, brought a tent with him this time. Facing problems that have not yet been clearly identified (transmission or clutch), the vehicle will most probably have to be towed to Tichit. It is currently around 60 km from the finish line.
Tomorrow's stage between Tidjikja and Atar should take place, and we hope that Ari Vatanen will be among those who take the start. The day includes a 361 km special stage, out of 399 km in total. During yesterday's stage, there were no fewer than 31 retirements. The following days are not likely to be any easier on the survivors.