A day of adventure for Team Dessoude !!
At the foot of the Andes, the Dakar changes its philosophy, moving over to the wide open spaces and magnificent scenery. We are now in the true domain of the 'raid'. In today's stage, divided into two sections, Team Dessoude encountered some difficulties, but the team is resolutely positive and motivated.
The Dakar organisation had warned that the difficulties would increase during the rally, and so have the problems, according to the accounts from the competitors. The Team Dessoude crews have not been spared. This evening, Andre drew up a first report: " We have left the WRC-type tracks and entered the wide open spaces. There are now potential traps everywhere, and we have to admit that today was no picnic for the team and its personnel.
The fast assistance truck, driven Salvador Servia, rolled over yesterday, an accident that luckily did not hurt the crew. The truck only arrived this morning at 11:30, and without any sleep since the day before yesterday, they went straight into today's stage !
This evening, they are with Honghzi Guo and Denis Schurger, who are at the 50-kilometre mark of the special stage, apparently fighting technical problems. All our efforts have been put in place, within the terms allowed by the sporting regulations, to repair their vehicle. There is no doubt that it will be a long night for our five crew members still out on the track. "
As far as the race is concerned, there was another scare for Christian Lavieille and Jean Michel Polato. Although they started off carefully, with the aim of being consistent, the duo had only covered a few hundred metres before hitting a dip.
" We had really hoped that today would be calmer ... After 800 metres, a dip threw us violently up into the air. We fell down on the side, and burst two tyres ! It took us four minutes to change them.
As if that was not enough, we found ourselves behind a competitor who refused to be overtaken, and to top it all, a mistake from the timekeepers put us in the wrong place !
Tomorrow we will calm everything down. It's true that I've lost a bit of time, but there is no doubt that these few minutes will not be important when we will get into the desert. "
Isabelle Patissier and Thierry Delli Zotti had a quieter day : " The first forty kilometres were very difficult with ruts in the sand, and dips where I was worried that the little Buggy would get stuck, but it proved to be quite remarkable. When you have time to look, the scenery is quite breath-taking, and driving through these red canyons was a real delight."
Frederic Chavigny and Willy Alcaraz have also had some problems : " A true Dakar stage : difficult, long, wearing and in the torrid heat, with temperatures of 42o.. We had to get out the shovels -- it had to happen to us some time ! It gives us some practice for the stages to come. It's rather a shame, as without this adventure in the sand, we would have been up with the category leader. We are therefore quite satisfied, and confident for the coming days, especially as the car is perfect. "
For David Deslandes and Alain Brousse, it was another training day. They went carefully through the potential pitfalls. This is the first rally raid for the young man from Normandy, who is impatient to get to the part everyone has been talking about : the famous Atacama desert.
The performance of the day was undoubtedly down to the Angolan Carlos Machado de Oliveira, codriven by Ricardo Manuel Trejeira Corticadas. Very competitive, the duo continues to make progress, with improvements every day. Over today's stage, they gained 19 places in the overall classification !
Among the bikes, Pierrick Bonnet continues his adventure, and is maintaining his position. Although tired, he can count on the assistance and team spirit from Team Dessoude.
This evening at the bivouac, Andre and all his team are thinking of the team members still out on the track, but the atmosphere is excellent and the aims are still high. The next Stage : San Salvador de Jujuy / Calama Special Stage 207 kms -- Liaison 554 kms.
The rally will reach an altitude of 4800 metres to cross the Andes towards Chile, before reaching Calama, the gateway to the desert...
-source: Team Dessoude