The race goes on... In terribly sad conditions after the news from the previous days, the Telefonica Dakar 2005 rally carried on its road to the Lac Rose, entering its fourth country, Mali. No bike race today but an air lift to Bamako for the ...
The race goes on...
In terribly sad conditions after the news from the previous days, the Telefonica Dakar 2005 rally carried on its road to the Lac Rose, entering its fourth country, Mali. No bike race today but an air lift to Bamako for the shocked bikers while the cars and trucks took off with a black scarf on their rear view mirrors in homage to Meoni. The special was won by Giniel De Villiers.
Traditionally, when the Dakar enters Mali, it often appears like the last step to Promised Land, a new phase and a first taste of the upcoming finish line in Dakar. The first kilometres in black Africa today were however very painful. On the race course for the cars and trucks or in the planes taking the bikers, devastated after the terrible news from the previous days. Indeed the riders had requested not to compete on the day's long 819km stage. A painful day for everyone on the Dakar!But despite the terrible absence of Fabrizio Meoni on this 12th stage, the race went on, exactly like the Italian would have wanted it to. The bikers gathered on the tarmac of the Bamako airport were indeed well aware of that.
The car race took of under the cloudy skies of Mauritania and the conditions remained the same all the way to the Mali capital. Comfortably in the leading two places of the overall, the Mitsubishi vehicles of Peterhansel and Alphand started nice and easily, going full speed when necessary and eventually catching and passing their closest rival Jutta Kleinschmidt (VW) who had taken off in first spot of the special. But the fastest on the sandy portion to CP1 (km 151) was Giniel De Villiers (fifth to start in his Nissan Pickup) with a tiny 4" advantage on 'Peter'. The South African carried on his fast rhythm, adding precious time to his advance (1'55 on Saby and 3'42 on Peterhansel).
At CP3, he had done even better, flying to his first win on this 27th edition (Nissans third after the two won by McRae). De Villiers crossed the finish line with a 3'01 lead on Stephane Peterhansel and 6'27 on Luc Alphand.Already a winner of the Castellon stage last year, the Nissan driver remains well over 4h adrift, while Jutta Kleinschmidt who had to deal with a problem on rear wheels finished the stage over 13' adrift is still third overall but now has a 1h18 deficit on the race leader Stephane Peterhansel.
Meanwhile, it was a tough day for Robby Gordon (VW) who damaged his shock absorbers after only 100kms and lost over 2h30 on the day. Josep Maria Servia also had a fright when he hit a tree at km 511 (not the slightest injury) and had to ask for the assistance of another competitor to help him get back on the special.
In the truck race, after suffering mechanical problems and race incidents since the start of the rally, Gerard De Rooy (DAF) clinched his first special victory in Bamako on this 27th edition. The Dutchman beat overall leader Firdaus Kabirov by 5'17''.