Last Stage in Mauritania Today's distance was shortened from 656 to 400 kilometres. Due to the poor weather conditions persisting since the beginning of the Rally, today's and tomorrow's stages - considered to be the most selective stages of the...
Last Stage in Mauritania
Today's distance was shortened from 656 to 400 kilometres.
Due to the poor weather conditions persisting since the beginning of the Rally, today's and tomorrow's stages - considered to be the most selective stages of the 2005 Dakar - have become even more unpredictable than originally thought. Because of this the Dakar-organizers had decided to shorten today's 11th leg from Atar to Kiffa, the leg that was considered to be the most difficult in the programme of this year's Dakar Rally. The total distance was shortened from 656 to 400 kilometres and the participants drove directly into the bivouac via a liaison after the second control point.
In the face of the incidents that occurred on the seventh leg from Zouérat to Tichit (many participants finished with considerable delays), the organizers decision is understandable. In spite of this, today's special was no cake-walk and the drivers had to rise to great challenges. Over the first 200 kilometres there was a multitude of dunes with soft sand to overcome. This called for extremely sensitive pedalling on the drivers' part... or, in the worst case, a powerful upper-body effort to shovel out the vehicle!
José Luis Monterde and co-driver Rafael Tornabell have brought the X-raid BMW X5 on 12th place today, 1h19:28 behind stage winner Jutta Kleinschmidt (VW). In the overall standings the Spanish crew is ranking on 10th place with a deficit of 12h13:10 on overall leader Stephane Peterhansel in the Mitsubishi.
Tomorrow's 12th leg from Kiffa to Bamako, with a total distance of 819 kilometres, is the second longest of this year's Dakar. Only the liaison stage on the 1st of January from Granada to Barcelona (920 km) was longer - but it did not include a special. Before the Dakar procession completely leaves Mauritanian tomorrow and comes to Mali, there are several fast passages to cope with and the navigation won't be easy. In Mali there will be a number of villages to drive through. For safety reasons, the drivers must strictly adhere to the predetermined speed limits set there which will be monitored by the organizers per GPS. Just after Nioro, the competitors will come onto narrow laterite tracks where overtaking is nearly impossible. Because tomorrow's leg is once again a marathon-stage, the vehicles will be parked in Parc Fermé at the finish in Bamako immediately after refuelling. Adjustments or repairs by the mechanics are not allowed.