Dakar: Stage 11 report

African triumph For its second day in Mali, the Euromilhoes Dakar 2006 saw Alain Duclos clinch his first ever stage victory and what better place than Bamako to do it for the Mali native. Overall leader Marc Coma increased his lead and can now...

African triumph

For its second day in Mali, the Euromilhoes Dakar 2006 saw Alain Duclos clinch his first ever stage victory and what better place than Bamako to do it for the Mali native. Overall leader Marc Coma increased his lead and can now enjoy an advantage of over 30' on Cyril Despres. In the car division Giniel De Villiers (VW -- n 305)managed to repeat his performance of last year, winning again in Bamako. While Stephane Peterhansel (MIT -- n300) lost part of his margin from Luc Alphand (MIT- n302). In the truck division, the third stage win for Hans Stacey moves the Dutchman into the position of closest pursuer of Chagin, who still has a commanding lead.

Before the start of the rally, Franco-Mali rider Alain Duclos (KTM n14) certainly noted down the date of the 11th of January: the day of Dakar stage 11 heading from Kayes to Bamako his place of birth... That was certainly the one that Duclos wanted to capture more than any other. For his 5th appearance on the rally, the KTM biker has indeed become one of the fastest and most talented of the privateers. Already 4th of the stage going to Bamako in 2001 and 2nd of the one heading from Tambacounda to Dakar last year, he made the best of his knowledge of a course he knows perfectly. The day's dirt tracks are indeed where the man from Bamako discovered biking.

The African biker discovered the Dakar thanks to French veteran Raymond Loiseaux back in 1982. At the time Duclos lived in Ivory Coast and his family welcomed Loiseaux as it was often a habit back in the early days of the rally. The biker stayed in contact with little Alain and when back in France sent him his bib number 102. 18 years later, Duclos showed up for his first Dakar with the precious bib he returned to Loiseaux.

Today was another chapter of Duclos love affair with the Dakar. He indeed captured his first ever special beating overall leader Marc Coma (KTM n2) by 1'27". Third on the day was another privateer: Jonah Street (KTM n42) who manages his best performance on a Dakar stage. The American finished 6'39" adrift, just ahead of compatriot Chris Blais (KTM n9), at 8'24".

In the overall standings Marc Coma increases his lead. The Spaniard now has a 34'24" advantage on the French title holder Cyril Despres (KTM n1) who struggled on this fast special, losing over 13' and the day's winner.

The car division was also won by an African. But contrary to Alain Duclos, Giniel De Villiers didn't just discover the joy of victory. Better, the South African, who posted his third scratch time in four Dakar participations, the last one being at Bamako in 2005. Perhaps just a bit at home, De Villiers seems, in any case, to be very comfortable on the Malian tracks. Starting eighth, far from team mate Carlos Sainz, he moved his way through the field passing in succession Sousa (NIS -- n311), Schlesser (SCH -- n314), Kleinschmidt (with little effort needed because she remained stuck at km 12 after running into a tree), Miller (VW -- n309), Peterhansel et Roma (MIT -- n304). At the end of this festival, De Villiers came up big in the overall standings. Today, his speed allowed him to distance himself from Nani Roma, with whom he is in a battle with for the final place on the winner's podium. The Spaniard will now have to make up a deficit of 55'32".

The two lead Mitsubishis continue to control the rally. Stephane Peterhansel, who finds himself in a rather enviable position four day from the end, isn't sheltered from an incident that could provoke a hold-up from his team mate. His misadventure took place in 2003 with Massuoka. Alphand surely hopes to benefit from a similar bit of luck. The former skier prepares in any case to jump on such an occasion. Today, a slight error gave Alphand reason to hope. His team leader committed a navigation error at mid-race, costing him some time. The detour lasted just 10 kms for the defending Dakar winner, but a bigger mistake (heavy contact with a stone for example!) would have serious consequences. For the moment, Alphand, 3rd on the special stage, is now 25'09" adrift from Peterhansel. The two drives will continue to watch each other just until Dakar. After his victory yesterday in Kayes, Hans Stacey (MAN -- n524) posted his third scratch time on the 2006 Dakar, the fourth of his career on the rally. The Dutchman won by 6'41" from Andre De Azevedo (TAT -- n 513), Vladimir Chagin (KAM -- n 508) was third at 11'10''. The Russian holds on to the lead in the overall standings but he now has Hans Stacey as his closest follower at 3h19'34".


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Series Dakar
Drivers Carlos Sainz , Luc Alphand , Stéphane Peterhansel , Cyril Despres , Nani Roma , Marc Coma , Chris Blais , Vladimir Chagin , Alain Duclos , Hans Stacey , Jonah Street