FrÃ©tignÃ© defies the pain to make progress David FrÃ©tignÃ© today continued to make progress in his first ever Dakar rally, taking his Yamaha Motor France WR450F 2-Trac to 15th place overall after today's 351km special between Ouarzazate and...
Frétigné defies the pain to make progress
David Frétigné today continued to make progress in his first ever Dakar rally, taking his Yamaha Motor France WR450F 2-Trac to 15th place overall after today's 351km special between Ouarzazate and Tan Tan.
Frétigné suffered some problems with his elbow, injured in a crash yesterday, but rode his two-wheel-drive machine sensibly to take the 16th fastest time in the stage.
"I was totally stressed out this morning," explained Frétigné. "After crashing yesterday my left hand was swollen and my elbow really stiff. After about 200km I started to warm up and I finished the day as if I had no problems. The piste was very interesting -- bumpy, fast and dusty. I also got the chance today to compare the power of my 450cc bike against on of the 950 V-twins. Paul Krause came past me and must have been going at least 50kph faster. Graziani took the lead off me in the 450 class today but I am sticking to my New Year's resolution -- stay calm! I'll worry about Graziani later on in the technical stages."
Christian Caillon, Frétigné's mechanic, added: "Yesterday evening, after 575 km of stage, we had a look at the engine oil and it was perfectly clean. The engine can stand these Dakar stages without any problems but tomorrow the special is very fast and so we will change the engine before David leaves for the marathon stage. While he is away we'll take the motor apart and see if there is any wear. As with the engine, we have been changing the oil in the 2-Trac system every day. It too has given us no problems."
Spain's Nani Roma won today's stage, the last in Morocco, from compatriot Isidre Esteve Pujol and Australian rider Andy Caldecott (all KTM). After six days Frétigné lies 44m45 behind Roma. Today also saw the first retirement of one of the event's leading contender when multiple world enduro champion Giovanni Sala (KTM) went out after crashing and breaking two ribs.
Tomorrow promises to be the toughest day of the rally yet. At 00:55 the first competitors leave the bivouac in Tan Tan to start the long transition stage to Atar in Mauritania. First of all they have a 345km liaison to the border, from where they start a 701km special to Atar. The first bike is not scheduled to arrive in Atar before 15:40 tomorrow in what will be a true test of man and machine.