Top five sees FrÃ©tignÃ© move up again Dakar rookie David FrÃ©tignÃ© put in another great performance on day 15 of the classic event, taking his two-wheel-drive Yamaha WR450F 2-Trac to fifth on today's 548km special stage from AyoÃ»n El AtroÃ»s...
Top five sees Frétigné move up again
Dakar rookie David Frétigné put in another great performance on day 15 of the classic event, taking his two-wheel-drive Yamaha WR450F 2-Trac to fifth on today's 548km special stage from Ayoûn El Atroûs to Tidjikja and moving up two places to eighth in the overall standings. Once again the Frenchman was the fastest 450cc rider, extending his lead in this class. He now leads Italy's Matteo Graziani (KTM 450) by over two hours.
As the winner of yesterday's special, Frétigné was able to choose his start position today, opting to start eighth on the road. "I didn't want to open the piste," he explained. "I don't yet have enough experience for that kind of thing so I opted to go eighth. What a special it was though! After refuelling we got into the dunes and I rode really hard -- I even overtook Fabrizio Meoni (KTM 950) on his big V-twin. Then we came to an immense chott (dried up lake) and I pushed the engine as hard as I dared. Obviously on that kind of going I can't stay with the more powerful bikes, but if I ride at 100 percent I can keep up with them almost everywhere else. The problem is that in Africa that isn't the best way to ride. In the end I decided to back off a little and even took the time to have a look around me -- it was really fantastic -- at one point we past a huge cliff of black rocks with tongues of red sand coming off it."
Victory on today's special went to Cyril Despres (KTM 660), 1'23 ahead of Alfie Cox (KTM 660), with Nani Roma (KTM 660) third at 4'14. Overall Roma preserves his lead, 9'40 over Richard Sainct (KTM 660), with Despres third at 41'25. Frétigné lies 3h 07' 26" behind the leader, but less than 30 seconds behind seventh-placed Meoni.
Tomorrow the competitors tackle the last big special of the 2004 Dakar - 579 km from Tidjikja to Nouakchott. The stage features 200km of camel grass, a terrain which could be well suited to the high traction, lightweight 2-Trac.