Dakar: Stage 12 Bamako to Labe notes

Stage 12: Bamako to Labe January 12, 2006 Connection 197 km - Special 368 km - Connection 307 km Total 872 km The river track Mali is left in liaison. The course of this first Guinean special takes drivers and riders into highly varied ...

Stage 12: Bamako to Labe
January 12, 2006
Connection 197 km - Special 368 km - Connection 307 km
Total 872 km

The river track
Mali is left in liaison. The course of this first Guinean special takes drivers and riders into highly varied configurations. Trial zones replace fast laterite tracks, and bikers will have to get their feet wet when passing through fords. From a vegetation point of view, you won't quite need a machete knife! At the finish, as is required for a marathon stage, there will be no assistance vehicles.

Night Watch:

10:15 - Last night 23h00 -- Jutta still in Kayes
In the Volkswagen team, the day's been excellent for Giniel De Villiers, but a lot less for Jutta Kleinschmidt, who wasn't able to go further than 12kms of the special. Her assistance truck abdicated seeing how serious the damage was after the Race Touareg hit a tree. The German was eventually taken back to Kayes. She might head to Dakar to wait for her team mates.

10:24 - Last night 23h40 -- Getting ready for Guinea
The journey to Guinea will be done without the T5 assistance vehicles. In the VW team, like in all the others, time has come to prepare the cars so that they manage to cover two stages with a minimum maintenance. While Bruno Saby's car returns from a test drive, all the other cars go through a major check-up. "We want to make sure that the drivers don't have to change parts themselves tomorrow. Carlos Sainz almost ripped off a rear wheel. We will have to change everything."

11:15 - Early this morning 0h10 -- Medical roundup
Four evacuations to close by hospitals took place during the day. One for a broken leg, one for a back trauma, one for a broken finger and one for a face trauma. "The surprising thing is that for the first time we had to treat more car competitors than bikers. We went through 60 medical checks and two had to be treated in a Bamako hospital", explains a member of the medical staff.

11:18 - Early this morning 1h00 -- Tests continue Car number 309 of Mark Miller and truck 513 of Andre De Azevedo return from test drives outside the bivouac.

11:20 - Early this morning 1h15 -- Third engine change
At the 'bike trunk' plane, Spaniard Amador Ferrer helps Venezuela rider Francisco Gomez to repair his bike. For Gomez, it's the third time since the start of the rally that he broke and repaired his engine. Just as often as David Fretigne.

11:22 - Early this morning 1h20 -- The Dakar on a 500 XT
Henno Van Bergeik has a goal of driving his old Yamaha 500 XT all the way to Dakar. The project is slowly starting to become true but the Dutch rider that receives a warm welcome at the 'bike trunks' is exhausted. "I refused to go into the broom-wagon truck quite a few times yesterday but I'm really tired. To get here, I had to stop at least 3 or 4 times to sleep on the liaison course. Today I stopped in a farm where I even had food and took a shower. That's why I'm so late. Now, I have to take care of the engine and change the oil and filters."

11:22 - Early this morning 2h45 -- Gache not sure
While the big factory teams finish their work, it's still very busy around Philippe Gache's buggy, seriously damaged after hitting a tree. "The tubular chassis is damaged and that's very difficult to repair. We don't have a lot of time left and I'm not sure that we'll be able to do the necessary work to carry on."

11:23 - Early this morning 2h55 -- Asaga loses his title
Winner of the production class last year, Japan's Asaga committed a fatal mistake on the special. His Toyota was seriously damaged. A total change of the front part is necessary and such a modification means that Asaga will be forced to go from the T2 to the T1 category.


05:49 - Back in Guinea
For the first time since 1996, the Dakar returns to Guinea. A good opportunity for the competitors to test themselves in a real bush stage. The long portions on laterite tracks will make things complicated for overtaking. One will need excellent driving skills especially in the water crossings. Quite a few bikers should wet their legs. On the fast sections co-drivers will have to be extra careful and signal the bumps, holes, stones...

In the bike race, this kind of course could perfectly suit the enduro specialists. Portuguese bikers Ruben Faria or Helder Rodrigues will be men to watch especially after impressing in the first European stages of the rally. In the car race, overtaking will be a key factor. The cars taking off first of De Villiers and Saby will have a big advantage added to the fact that they have the kind of skills and vehicles to conquer victory.


11:29 - Despres fastest at CP1
At the first CP (km 215), Cyril Despres, a late starter (9th) has clocked the fastest time so far. The Frenchman has a 1'41" lead on Jean De Azevedo and 1'46" on Marc Coma, the overall leader.


11:33 - De Villiers leads special
Yesterday's stage winner Giniel de Villiers (Volkswagen) who took off first this morning is still alone ahead. The South African has reached the 110km mark.


12:02 - De Gavardo in trouble
At km 120 of the day's special, Carlo De Gavardo damaged his bike after a water crossing. It appears that water entered the engine. The Chilean rider had to stop but is now back on his bike and riding. He made it to CP1 (km 215) losing close to 40'.


12:03 - Worries for Cox
Former biker Alfie Cox now driving a BMW was forced to stop at km 130. He has damaged his rear right suspension after hitting a rock. He hopes to be able to repair and carry on driving shortly.


12:24 - Coma reaches CP2
Overall leader Marc Coma who started the stage in second position this morning has just reached CP2 (km 294) alone in the lead.

12:40 - Despres fastest at CP2
After clocking the fastest time at the first check-point, Cyril Despres was again the fastest at CP2 (km 294). The Frenchman has a 1'49" lead over Marc Coma and 2'30" on Chris Blais.


12:42 - Cox stopped again
After suffering suspension problems at km 130, Alfie Cox (BMW) managed to repair and take off but the South-African stopped again just 3kms later and appears to have engine worries.

12:52 - Alphand fastest at CP1
Frenchman Luc Alphand has just clocked the fastest time at CP1 (km 215). The Mitsubishi driver has a 1'17" lead on Saby (VW), 2'20" on De Villiers (VW) and 3'43" on Chicherit (BMW). Carlos Sainz appears to have had problems. He was overtaken by Chicherit and is 7'54" adrift.

12:59 - Peterhansel 5th at CP1
Overall leader Stephane Peterhansel just made it with the 5th fastest time at CP1 (km 215). The title holder is 3'19" adrift. USA's Marc Miller (VW) managed to grab 3rd spot, 2'09" adrift.


13:35 - Despres wins special
Frenchman Cyril Despres who started 9th this morning has clocked the fastest time of the special and captures his 4th success so far. The title holder beats Marc Coma by 1'45". Third is Chris Blais at 2'29".

13:39 - Coma still comfortable overall leader
Spaniard Marc Coma has lost 1'45" on Cyril Despres today but still has a comfortable 32'39" overall lead on the Frenchman


13:44 - Alphand still fastest at CP2
At CP2 (km 274), Luc Alphand remains the fastest so far. The Frenchman has a 2'45" lead on compatriot Guerlain Chicherit. Third is Giniel De Villiers at 3'18" followed by Bruno Saby at 5'39". Still expecting Miller and Peterhansel.

14:06 - Two cars at finish
Two cars have so far made it to the finish line of the day's special. Giniel de Villiers leading ahead of Luc Alphand. Alphand has the fastest time.


14:18 - Blais in the Top 4
After Carlo De Gavardo suffered serious mechanical problems after a water crossing and Pal Anders Ullevalseter was still expected on the finish line, Chris Blais moves up to fourth spot overall. The American is 2h06 behind race leader Marc Coma.


14:23 - Peterhansel in trouble
Overall leader Stephane Peterhansel is stopped at km 278. It appears he hit a tree and is working on the left rear wheel of his Mitsubishi Pajero Evo 4.

14:34 - Alphand wins special
Luc Alphand captured his first special victory on this Dakar. The Frenchman has a 56" lead on Guerlain Chicherit (BMW). Third is Giniel De Villiers (VW) at 3'21".

14:37 - 'Peter' still stopped, Alphand new leader
Stephane Peterhansel was still stopped at km 278 repairing his rear left wheel. He hopes not to need the help of his assistance truck and carry on with a two-wheel drive all the way to the finish. As it stands, Luc Alphand is the new overall leader. He indeed had a 25min deficit before this stage and has already made it to the finish.

14:52 - 'Peter' driving again
After doing their best to repair the rear left wheel of their Mitsubishi, Stephane Peterhansel and co-friver Jean-Paul Cottret are back on track and driving towards the finish line. As it stands, 'Peter' loses the overall lead to team mate Luc Alphand and would be third overall behind Giniel de Villiers.

15:12 - Peterhansel stopped again
Just after CP2 (km 294), Stephane Peterhansel was again forced to stop... He made it to the second check point with a deficit of over an hour on Alphand.

15:14 - Pescarolo quits race
Frenchman Henri Pescarolo was forced to quit the race after suffering a crash at km 330 of the day's special. The crew is fine, not the car...


15:50 - Stacey fastest at CP2
Dutchman Hans Stacey was the fastest at CP2 (km 294). Second was Kabirov at 11'56" followed by overall leader Chagin at 18'07".

16:37 - Stacey does it again
For the third stage in a row Hans Stacey has clocked the fastest time of the trck race... The Dutchman beats title holder Firdaus Kabirov by over 12' and overall leader Vladimir Chagin by 18'36".


17:02 - Peter driving again
After receiving help from his race assistance truck and repairing his rear wheel problems, Stephane Peterhansel (MIT) is back on track and heading to the finish line of the special. So far he has lost over 3 hours on the day's winner Luc Alphand.

19:02 - Correction : Pescarolo is making repairs
Henri Pescarolo, who flipped three-times near km 330 is now making repairs to rejoin the race.


19:04 - Today's essentials
Cyril Despres (KTM -- n 1) won his fourth stage of this year's Dakar, but the overall standings remain dominated by Marc Coma (KTM- n 2). The race in the car division was a lot more dramatic on this stage in Guinea. Stephane Peterhansel (MIT -- n 300) dropped an enormous amount of time and thus relinquished his lead of the Rally to Luc Alphand (MIT -- n 302), who also was the winner of today's stage. In the truck division, Vladimir Chagin (KAM -- n 508) remains in command despite the stage victory of Hans Stacey (MAN -- n 524).


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About this article
Series Dakar
Drivers Henri Pescarolo , Mark Miller , Carlos Sainz , Luc Alphand , Jutta Kleinschmidt , Stéphane Peterhansel , Jean-Paul Cottret , Giniel de Villiers , Cyril Despres , Alfie Cox , Bruno Saby , Marc Coma , David Fretigne , Guerlain Chicherit , Philippe Gache , Chris Blais , Vladimir Chagin , Firdaus Kabirov , Pal Anders Ullevalseter , Hans Stacey , Helder Rodrigues , Ruben Faria , Marc Miller