## Stage 14: Ayoun el Atrous to Tidjikja Thursday, January 15, 2004 Special 547 km -Liaison 4 km -Total 551 km Sand, more sand, even more sand ! Dunes, higher and higher, one after the other forming a real sea of sand all the way up to the ...

Stage 14: Ayoun el Atrous to Tidjikja

Thursday, January 15, 2004

Special 547 km -Liaison 4 km -Total 551 km

Sand, more sand, even more sand ! Dunes, higher and higher, one after the other forming a real sea of sand all the way up to the Taskast cliff. For the competitors, this stage will certainly be one of the highlights of the rally. A special that will be technical, tactical and maybe decisive.

They'll have to avoid the traps on fast tracks and also manage a perfect navigation and technique to go through the dunes. To be in good position at the finish, one will have to go, of course, fast but most of all find the good (and only) path to head to the Tidjikja road.

Tidjikja was founded in the XVIIth century by the Idoualis, that came from the Ardrar. They made the city an important cross-road for trading and a religious settlement. Today the town is divided in two on each side of the Tidjikja wadi.
**Car**

11:44 VATANEN QUITS ?

At km 10 of the special between Ayoun El Atrouss and Tidjikja, Ari Vatanen
(Nissan n°205) hit a tree. The car is seriously damaged and the Finn could
be forced to quit.

**Bike**

11:44 ROMA LOSES TIME AND FALLS

At CP1 (km 180) Nani Roma (KTM n°4) has lost a lot of time (around 16min,
to be confirmed) on Sainct (KTM n°1) after losing himself. At km 190, he
even suffered a fall, losing more time.

**Car**

11:45 McRAE LEADS SPECIAL

At km 135 and not taking in account the time gaps due to the starting
positions, McRae (Nissan n°202) leads the special ahead of De Villiers
(Nisan n°208) and Kleinschmidt (VW n°204). Servia (Schlesser Ford n°209)
stopped to wait for is team mate Schlesser (n°200). Meanwhile Masuoka
(Mitsubishi n°201) overtook De Mevius (BMW n°212).

**General**

11:50 186 VEHICLES STILL IN THE RACE

75 bikes, 70 cars and 41 trucks started today's special. Have retired from
the race : Coma (n°11).

**Bike**

12:32 DESPRES FASTEST AT CP1

At CP1 (km 180) Cyril Despres (KTM n°2) has the fastest time. Second is
Cox (KTM n°10) at 3min23, followed by Sainct (KTM n°1) at 6min12, Fretigne
(Yamaha n°12) at 6min22, Vinters (KTM n°183) at 9min30, Meoni (KTM n°3) at
11min15, De Gavardo KTM n°8) at 11min23 and Roma (KTM n°4) at 11min39.

**Car**

12:42 SABY IN TROUBLE

At km 80, Bruno Saby (Volkswagen n°224) was forced to stop to work on
mechanical problems.

12:45 VATANEN QUITS AND IS ON THE TIDJIKJA BIVOUAC

After hitting a tree at km 10 of the special, Ari Vatanen (Nissan n°205)
has officially retired from the race. He drove back to the bivouac in Ayoun
El Atrouss and immediately took a plane to go to Tidjikja where he is right
now.

12:52 WHAT VATANEN HAD TO SAY

"At kilometre 10, we were going too fast. On a bump, the car went sideways
and we couldn't avoid a tree. We broke it but we also broke the car. We
carried on for 2kms but we ran out of oil. I'm very disappointed because we
had made so many efforts between Tidjikja and Nema. A lot would have retired
in our situation".

13:11 PUNCTURE FOR DE VILLIERS

After CP1 (km 180), Giniel De Villiers (Nissan n°208) was forced to stop
to repair a punctured tyre.

13:11 ALPHAND FASTEST AT CP1

At CP1 (km 180), Luc Alphand (BMW n°207) has the fastest time. Second is
Schlesser (Schlesser Ford n°200) at 4min45, followed by
Peterhansel(Mitsubishi n°203) at 6min48, McRae (Nissan n°202) at 7min11,
Kleinschmidt (VW n°204) at 8min06, De Mevius (BMW n°212) at 9min30, Mayer
(Mitsubishi n°211), Al Attiyah (Mitsubishi n°259) at 10min54, Masuoka
(Mitsubishi n°201) at 12min33, De Villiers (Nissan n°208) and Servia
(Schlesser Ford n°209) at 19min13.

**Bike**

13:19 DESPRES FASTEST AT CP2

At CP2 (km 330), Despres (KTM n°2) has the fastest time. Second is Cox
(KTM n°10) at 4min42, followed by Fretign? (Yamaha n°12) at 6min40, Sainct
(KTM n°1) at 7min27, Roma (KTM n°4), Meoni (KTM n°3) at 12min34, Vinters
(KTM n°193) at 13min38 and Lundmark (KTM n°6) at 16min46.

**Car**

13:42 DE MEVIUS DAMAGES CAR

At km 204, Gregoire De Mevius (BMW n°212) is stopped. His rear left wheel
is damaged

**Truck**

14:17 KABIROV FASTEST AT CP1

At CP1 (km 180), Firdaus Kabirov (Kamaz n°410) has clocked the fastest
time. Second is team mate Vladimir Tchaguine (n°414) at 1min15, followed by
Stacey (DAF n°442) at 4min43, De Azevedo (Tatra n°412) at 6min52, De Rooy
(DAF n°417) at 7min55 and Loprais (Tatra n°415) at 11min08.

**Bike**

14:27 DESPRES FASTEST AT CP3, ROMA BACK IN IT

At CP3 (km 423), Cyril Despres (KTM n°2) has the best time. Second is Cox
(KTM n°10) at 2min25. Joan Roma (KTM n°4) is now third (after his bad start)
at 3min58, followed by Fretigne (Yamaha n°12) at 5min01 and Sainct (KTM n°1)
at 6min11.

**Car**

14:31 ALPHAND FASTEST AT CP2

At CP2 (km 330), Luc Alphand (BMW n°207) has the fastest time. Second is
now Peterhansel (Mitsubishi n°203) at 8min22 followed by McRae (Nisan n°202)
at 12min, Masuoka (Mitsubishi n°201) at 12min36, Schlesser (Schlesser Ford
n°200) at 13min02, Kleinschmidt (VW n°204) at 13min36, Mayer (Mitsubishi
n°211) at 16min and De Villiers (Nissan n°208) at 21min33.

15:15 DE MEVIUS NOW AT CP2

After repairing a problem on his rear wheel, Gregoire De Mevius (BMW
n°212) has only just gone through CP2. In other words he has lost around
1h20 on the fastest time of team mate Alphand (n°207).

15:29 ALPHAND OVERTAKES McRAE

In the dunes just before CP3 (km 423), Luc Alphand (BMW n°207) has
overtaken Colin McRae (Nissan n°202) which means that the Scotsman has
virtually lost 16min on Alphand.

**Bike**

15:43 DESPRES WINS SPECIAL

Cyril Despres (KTM n°2) wins his third special of the rally in the stage
between Ayoun El Atrous and Tidjikja. Second is Cox (KTM n°10) at 1min23.
Third is Roma (KTM n°4) at 4min14, followed by Sainct (KTM n°1) at 6min29,
Fretigne (Yamaha
n°12) at 9min22.

**Car**

15:56 ALPHAND FASTEST AT CP3

At CP2 (km 330), Luc Alphand (BMW n°207) has the fastest time. Second is
Peterhansel (Mitsubishi n°203) at 13min50 followed by McRae (Nisan n°202) at
16min46, Masuoka (Mitsubishi n°201) at 17min29, Kleinschmidt (VW n°204) at
19min19, Mayer (Mitsubishi n°211) at 16min and De Villiers (Nissan n°208) at
27min03.

**Bike**

15:58 ROMA INCREASES LEAD OVERALL

After stage 14, Joan Roma (KTM n°4) comforts his lead overall. Richard
Sainct (KTM n°1), second, is now at 9min40. Third is Despres (KTM n°2) at
41min25 and Cox (KTM n°10) is fourth at 43min43.

**Car**

16:35 THREE RETIRE

Szalay (n°219), Kamoun (n°279) and Sireyjol (n°353) have decided to retire
from the
race at CP1.

17:37 ALPHAND WINS SPECIAL

After clocking the fastest times at all three CPs, Luc Alphand (BMW n°207)
wins his second special of the Dakar. Second is Colin McRae (Nissan n°202)
at 14min20. Third is Peterhansel (Mitsubishi n°203) at 18min30 followed by
Schlesser (Schlesser Ford n°200) at 20min15 and Masuoka (Mitsubishi n°201)
at 21min05.

**Truck**

20:08 KABIROV WINS SPECIAL

Firdaus Kabirov (Kamaz n°410) won his fourth special of the Dakar. Second
is De Rooy (DAF n°417) at 1min11.

-aso-