Dakar: Stage 4 Rabat to Agadir notes

Stage 4: Rabat to Agadir January 3, 2005 Liaison 122 km - Special 123 km - Liaison 421 km Total 666 km The short liaison will take the competitors to the start of a first African special that is filled with traps from the very beginning; the ...

Stage 4: Rabat to Agadir
January 3, 2005
Liaison 122 km - Special 123 km - Liaison 421 km
Total 666 km

The short liaison will take the competitors to the start of a first African special that is filled with traps from the very beginning; the route is 70 % new. In the first part, marked out through an undulating cork oak forest, Rally specialists may put their driving skills to full use. After this, although the sand and the desert are still far off, the first navigating problems appear.

There are many changes in direction, in a landscape sorely lacking in landmarks: competitors, even experienced drivers, will very likely lose time here. And before reaching Agadir, the gateway to the south, 430 km of liaison must still be covered.

07:54 Africa, here we come!
The first African special of the Telefonica Dakar 2005 rally promises a brutal change for the competitors. Short in distance, it will offer a variety of technical difficulties on the rugged Moroccan soil. Navigation shouldn't be too much of a worry but the landscape on the second part of the special will make things trickier. Added to that the organisation's opening team has signalled that the terrain would be rather wet after heavy rains in the past weeks, with puddles and a ford at the beginning of the timed section.

On a course never used at 70 %, the competitors will be using rather narrow and sinuous paths that will make overtaking difficult. The three winners of the previous special David Fretigne, Colin McRae and Hans Bekx (also leaders in the overall of their categories), will take off first with good chances of keeping their respective leads.

11:35 Bike special cancelled
Due to heavy fog, the organisation has decided to cancel the bike special of stage 4 between Rabat and Agadir. The visibility was too bad for the bikers to compete in good security conditions. They, therefore, went to CP1 as a convoy and then used a normal asphalt road to head to Agadir in a liaison. A few years ago, the first stage in Morocco had also been cancelled because of the fog.

On the other hand, the cars should compete the special normaly.

14:33 Cars -- Special to start at 10h42
Due to heavy fog, the bike special has been cancelled for security reasons (poor visibility). The car special will however start at the normal time of 10h45. The stage' 4 special will be 123km long with three CPs.

14:34 Cars -- McRae first to start
The car special has officially started at 10h42. leader of the overall standing, Colin McRae (NIS -- n308) was the first to take off for the 123km special.

14:35 Bikes - 189 bikes at CP1
189 bikes have made it to CP1 of the stage 4 between Rabat and Agadir. The special was cancelled due to heavy fog and all riders are now on a liaison to Agadir.

14:36 Car -- Peter leads at CP1
Second to start for the sprecial, Stephane Peterhansel (MIT -- n0306) has clocked the fastest time at CP 1 (km 63) in 39'33". McRae (NIS -- n308) is second at 1'11". Only two cars have made it so far.

14:36 Bikes -- 216 at CP1
216 bikes have made it at CP1 which marks the beginning of the road liaison to Agadir. The bike special was cancelled due to heavy fog.

14:37 Cars -- Gordon best time at CP1
Robby Gordon (VW -- n317) has the new best time at CP1. He leads by 19sec on Peterhansel (MIT- n306). Third is Luc Alphand (MIT -- n312) at 1'26". Seven competitors have made it at CP1.

14:38 Cars -- Gordon fastest at CP2
At CP2 (km 88) Robby Gordon has the fastest time in 24'05". Second is Peterhansel (MIT -- n306) at 1'05". Third is Alphand (MIT -- n311) at 1'57".

14:39 Cars -- Gordon wins special
Robby Gordon (VW -- n317) has just clocked the fastest time of the day's 123km special between Rabat and Agadir. The US driver managed a time of 1h14'01" beating Peterhansel (MIT -- n306) by 53" and Saby (VW -- n307) at 1'08". Gordon conquers the new overall lead ahead of Peterhansel, 1min adrift.

15:08 Bikes -- Bikers on their way to Agadir
All the bikers, except one were on their way to the Agadir bivouac after the special was cancelled due to the fog in the Rabat area. One bike has not yet gone through the first check point: Jean-Luc Sevault (KTM -- n72).

15:29 454 still in the race
454 vehicles are still in the race (226 bikes, 161 cars and 67 trucks). Three failed to start the day's stage 4: Perez (KTM -- 18) in the bikes, Naglis (MIT -- n412) in the cars and Benbekhti (MAN -- n569) in the trucks.

15:31 Trucks -- Kabirov fastest at CP1
Firdaus Kabirov (KAM -- n520) has the fastest time at CP1 (km 63). He leads ahead of Gerard De Rooy (DAF -- n516) by 12sec and Vladimir Tchaguine (KAM -- n515) at 21sec. 12 trucks have made it to the first CP.

15:31 Trucks -- vehicle on its side
The truck of Toon Van Genugten (MAN -- n556) was seen on its side at km 6. It is now back on its wheels and still competing on the special.

15:33 Trucks -- Tchaguine leads at CP2
Vladimir Tchaguine (KAM -- n515) has managed the fastest time at CP2 (km 88). Gerard De Rooy (DAF -- n516) is second, 1'55" adrift. Jan De Rooy (DAF -- n521) is third.

17:15 Trucks -- Tchaguine in command
In the truck race, Vladimir Tchaguine (KAM -- n515) showed that he was already well in shape for a fifth triumph on the Dakar.

The Russian driver clinched the special with a 1'34" advantage on Gerard De Rooy (DAF -- n516) and 1'57" on team mate Firdaus Kabirov (n520). After a smooth start to the race in Europe, Tchaguine takes command of the overall.

-www.dakar.com-

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About this article
Series Dakar
Drivers Robby Gordon , Colin McRae , Luc Alphand , Stéphane Peterhansel , David Fretigne , Firdaus Kabirov , Hans Bekx