Dakar: Stage four Tunis to Tozeur notes

Stage 4 Sunday 5 January 2003 Liaison 89 km - Special 25 km - Liaison 349 km - Total 463 km 10:58 - The first special in Africa will be based for pilots. A special to shake off the long hours spent on the boat immediately after the crossing....

Stage 4
Sunday 5 January 2003

Liaison 89 km - Special 25 km - Liaison 349 km - Total 463 km

10:58 - The first special in Africa will be based for pilots. A special to shake off the long hours spent on the boat immediately after the crossing. It starts with turning tracks between green forests and pine trees. The track then becomes wider but with more dust followed by valleys and hills. The shortest special of this 25th Dakar finishes by a liaison heading to the doors of the desert.

Carlos Sousa and Henri Magne.
Photo by Mitsubishi Motors Corporation.

Motobikes:
13:45 - Spain's Joan Roma (KTM - n.4) claimed the first African special of the Telefonica Dakar rally in the stage between Tunis and Tozeur. On a twin-cylinder bike, the Spaniard clocked a time of 19min42s on the 25km course. In very slippery tracks, Roma beat Sainct (KTM - n.3) by 18sec and Despres (KTM - n.7) by 22. Italy's Fabrizio Meoni (KTM - n.1) finished fourth of the special, 38sec adrift.

In the provisional bike overall, Richard Sainct remains in front with a 22sec advantage on Despres. Roma is third while Alfie Cox (KTM - n.2), 10th of the special 1min18s behind, moves down to fourth. Meoni is sixth.

13:55 - Spaniard Garcia Mochales (Honda - n.129) fell in stage 4 going from Tunis to Tozeur. The bike rider appears to be suffering from a double arm fracture. He was taken by helicopter to the closest hospital in Tunis.

15:01 - Spain's Isidre Esteve Pujol (KTM - n.8) claimed the first African special of the Telefonica Dakar rally in the stage between Tunis and Tozeur. On a twin-cylinder 900cc bike, the Spaniard who left in 29th position, clocked a time of 19min on the 25km course. In very slippery tracks, Esteve Pujol beat compatriot Nani Roma (KTM - n.4) by 42sec and De Azevedo (KTM - n.25) by 58sec. Italy's Fabrizio Meoni (KTM - n.1) finished sixth of the special, 1min20sec adrift.

In the provisional bike overall, Richard Sainct remains in front with a 22sec advantage on Despres. Roma is third while Alfie Cox (KTM - n.2), 16th of the special 2min00s behind, moves down to fourth. Meoni is sixth. Special winner Esteve Pujol moves up to 7th spot.

Cars:
15:03 - France's Stephane Peterhansel (Mitsubishi - n.206) clocked the provisional fastest time of the first African special in the stage going from Tunis to Tozeur. 'Peter' managed a time of 18min26s, 22 seconds ahead of Belgium's Gregoire de Mevius (BMW - n.205). Third place was for Ari Vatanen (Nissan - n.204), 28sec of the pace. Winner of the 2002 rally, Hiroshi Masuoka (Mitsubishi - n.200) lost 56secs on his French team mate, finishing in 7th spot.

In the overall, Peterhansel now has a 1mn23s lead on Giniel De Villiers (Nissan - n.217). Masuoka moves down to third spot at 1min25s of the leader. The special was also the scene of worries for Germany's Jutta Kleinschmitt (Volkswagen - n.203) who damaged her wheel and punctured a tyre on the finish line of the special. She finished 3min48s off the pace.

Truck:
17:13 - After the first ten competitors crossed the finish line of the truck special Johannes De Rooy (DAT n.409) confirmed his excellent performances in Europe with the best time of the day in 23min26s. The Dutchman beat one of his main rivals Vladimir Tchaguine (Kamaz - n.407) for overall victory, by 22 seconds. Third place went to Kabirov (n.412) on the other Kamaz truck.

In the truck overall, De Rooy father remains ahead of his son Gerardus (DAF - n.414) by 2min05. The youngest of the two De Rooys finished the special in fourth spot 1min31s adrift. Loprais (Tatra -n.408) was 9th, 2min37s off the pace.

Final notes:
17:56 - 337 vehicles started today's special in the stage going from Tunis to Tozeur in Tunisia: 162 bikes, 124 cars and 51 trucks. Four competitors failed to start: TINSEAU (Protruck - n.254), SZALAY (Chevrolet - n.290), REEDTZ-THOTT (Volvo - n.309) and RAMOS MARTINEZ (n.315).

Added to that, Garcia Mochales (Honda - n.129) suffered a double arm fracture and was transported by helicopter to a hospital in Tunis, after falling from his bike.

18:12 - Spaniard Nani Roma (KTM - n.4) finally wins the bike special in the stage between Tunis and Tozeur. Due to a technical mix in timing, the 950cc twin-cylinder bike rider grabs the special thanks to the manual timing of the organisers. Isidre Esteve Pujol (KTM - n.8) is 20th.

-aso-

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About this article
Series Dakar
Drivers Henri Magne , Hiroshi Masuoka , Stéphane Peterhansel , Carlos Sousa , Ari Vatanen , Fabrizio Meoni , Alfie Cox , Richard Sainct , Gregoire de Mevius , Nani Roma , Isidre Esteve