Dakar: Yamaha stage 15 report

Frétigné gains a place despite time penalty Yamaha Motor France entrant David Frétigné moved up to seventh place as the 2004 Dakar rally enters its final stages -- despite a 15 minute penalty incurred when the Frenchman lost his time card ...

Frétigné gains a place despite time penalty

Yamaha Motor France entrant David Frétigné moved up to seventh place as the 2004 Dakar rally enters its final stages -- despite a 15 minute penalty incurred when the Frenchman lost his time card prior to the day's second checkpoint.

Frétigné, riding Yamaha's revolutionary two-wheel-drive 450cc WR450F 2-Trac, led the way at checkpoint one, but a misplaced timecard cost dearly. The penalty denied him a top three stage finish, but with just two days of the rally remaining he gained a place and is now seventh overall.

Explained Frétigné: "The start of the special was good for my bike. I caught Richard Sainct pretty quickly and then we all started riding together. The pace wasn't that quick and I followed along taking care not to consume too much fuel. At checkpoint one I had the best time but everything went out the window on coming into checkpoint two when I couldn't find my time card. The pocket on the front of my seat, where I normally put the card, was open and empty. That was when I discovered that you get a 15 minute penalty for such a crime. To say I wasn't happy would be an understatement. We take risks all day to put in a good result and then get punished harshly for a stupid mistake. I rode quietly to the end of the special but still managed to have two little crashes because I'd lost my concentration."

Today's special between Tidjikja and Nouakchott was eventually won by Fabrizio Meoni (KTM950), 46 seconds ahead of Richard Sainct (KTM660). Spain's Nani Roma (KTM660) was third (at 3'19). With his penalty added Frétigné finished eighth on the stage (at 18'14) and is and is now over two-and-a-half hours ahead of his rival for the 450 class, KTM's Matteo Graziani.

Tomorrow the rally finally arrives in Dakar via a 192km special, where the use of GPS navigation systems is banned. The event finishes on Sunday with a 27km grand finale on the beach at Lac Rose.

-yamaha-

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About this article
Series Dakar
Drivers Fabrizio Meoni , Richard Sainct , Nani Roma , David Fretigne