Series day twelve gossip

Jean-Marc Fortin takes over... The Belgian delegetion often stood out in the car category of the Dakar most prestigiously with the victory of Jacky Ickx in 1983 - with a total of 29 stage victories - and more recently with those who made a...

Jean-Marc Fortin takes over...

The Belgian delegetion often stood out in the car category of the Dakar most prestigiously with the victory of Jacky Ickx in 1983 - with a total of 29 stage victories - and more recently with those who made a quality show like Gregoire De Mevius or Stephane Henrard. It's again on the latter that Belgians counted this year to represent the country. After the withdrawal of the Volkswagen buggy driver, it is now Jean-Marc Fortin, co-pilot to Krzysztof Holowczyc, who is the leader of the Belgian pack with an interesting 7th place in the general standings that is a great reward to the steadiness of the team on the trail: "On all stages we never ranked lower than 13th, which was the stage where we lost time because of a pneumatic jack breakdown. So we always remained in the right wagon. Today, we lost 90' repairing the front transmission but we are kind of a great team on these types of repairs. And it's the same on the trail; I am a bit more relaxed then he is, so i sometimes remind him of a few things that cool him down when he gets too anxious." Because the Polish driver, former Subaru official in WRC is mainly a competitor and intends to recover the 37' lost on Tollefsen-Evans in the well-known Cordoba stage: "He already speaks of the famous 'El Condor' special stage where we had some pretty memorable fights."

Watt a dune!

For those who might still have doubted the size of Chile's sand dunes, the experience of Stanley Watt at the very end of the special stage should convince most of those who doubted before. "I was 2km from the finish in the process of crossing the huge sand dune we see from the bivouac, explains the Brit. Then I was ejected from my bike and the bike went sommersaulting to the very bottom of the dune. It must have fallen over some 300m and I was at the very top of the dune. I was not hurt but my bike was in ruins: the GPS, the Sentinel system, the front, the rear, the exhaust... all of it." This is a tough blow for the KTM rider who was ranking 23rd in the general standings. "It's infuriating. I must have lost 25min to repair just to reach the finish." Late that night, the mechanics of the Front Row UK team were still working on the bike: "It will take them 6 to 8 hours", says Mister Watt in a laughter.

-credit: aso

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Series Dakar
Drivers Jacky Ickx , Stéphane Henrard , Krzysztof Holowczyc , Jean-Marc Fortin