Dakar: Stage two Narbonne to Castell?n notes

Stage 2 Thursday 2 January 2003 Liaison 21 km - Special 43 km - Liaison 510 km -Total 574 km O9:56 - The Corbieres special can be considered as the first real special of the 25th Telefonica Dakar rally. The serious business starts on January...

Stage 2
Thursday 2 January 2003

Liaison 21 km - Special 43 km - Liaison 510 km -Total 574 km

O9:56 - The Corbieres special can be considered as the first real special of the 25th Telefonica Dakar rally. The serious business starts on January the 2nd at 8h15 for the bikes and from 10h15 for the cars. The special is setup in the Massif des Corbieres with 43kms of a track including very fast portions on the higher part followed by tricky rocky sections. To finish off the special: a downhill track with sharp curves that will take the vehicles to Roquefort. The competitors will have to be very careful on the last quarter of the special on a course that should favor excellent pilots and small cars. It'll be very tough for the trucks.

Richard Sainct.
Photo by Gauloises Racing.

Motobikes:
12:15 - Frenchman Richard Sainct (KTM n.3) claimed the special stage of Corbieres in the stage taking the competitors from Narbonne to Castellon. On a difficult 43km course from Corbieres to Roquefort, Sainct clocked a time of 41min40 beating South Africa's Alfie Cox (KTM n.2) by 15 seconds while Cyril Despres (KTM n.7), winner of the prologue, took third spot 37 seconds adrift.

Sainct takes the leadership of the overall bike classification now that the times are taken into account (unlike Wednesday's prologue). The two time winner of the Dakar in 1999 and 2000 wins his ninth special of the rally and his third consecutive victory in Narbonne's area.

Race favourite Fabrizio Meoni (KTM n.1) finished in sixth place, over a minute behind the day's winner. His main contender for victory, Spain's Nani Roma (KTM n.4) took fourth spot, just in front of his compatriot Marc Coma (KTM n.10).

Cars:
14:07 - Stephane Peterhansel (Mitsubishi n. 206) impressed the field of the Telefonica Dakar by claiming the very tricky Corbieres special of stage 2 between Narbonne and Castellon. In this first real timed special of the rally, the Frenchman left his closest rival on the day, South Africa's Giniel De Villiers (Nissan n.217), 15 seconds behind. Last year's race winner Hiroshi Masuoka (Mitsubishi n.200) finished third, 34 seconds after his team-mate.

De Mevius (BMW n.205) on his X 5 Raid managed a very promising fourth place while two former rally World Champions, Ari Vatanen (Nissan -- n.204) and Miki Biasion (Mitsubishi -- n.207) proved they still had what it takes to clock an interesting time finishing in 5th and 6th position.

The biggest disappointment of the day was for Germany's Jutta Kleinschmitt (VW - n.203) who finished her special over 10 minutes behind the main favourites.

Thursday's 43km stage was also the scene of the first crash of the Dakar when 20 year-old Nicolas Misslin (Mitsubishi n.233), the youngest pilot of the Dakar, seriously damaged his car at km.8 as his car tossed over and fell in a ditch.

Trucks:
16:13 - Father Johannes De Rooy (DAF -- n.409) claimed the Corbieres special of stage 2 between Narbonne and Castellon in a final time of 51min28s. The Belgian 1987 winner beat his son Gerardus (DAF -- n.417) by 38 seconds. Third place went to Germany's Klaus Bauerle (Mercedes -- n.403). Last year's winner Vladimir Tchaguine (Kamaz -- n.407) took sixth position just behind six time Dakar winner Karel Loprais (Tatra n.408).

-aso-

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About this article
Series Dakar
Drivers Hiroshi Masuoka , Stéphane Peterhansel , Miki Biasion , Ari Vatanen , Fabrizio Meoni , Cyril Despres , Alfie Cox , Richard Sainct , Nani Roma , Karel Loprais , Marc Coma , Klaus Bauerle , Nicolas Misslin