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A wave of panic blew over the Dakar and in particular the Ténéré Desert, as reported by L’Equipe’s correspondent in Agadez, where the bikes and cars crossed the finishing line in dribs and drabs at the end of the 9th stage. The day had started in normal conditions for the riders and drivers, but after a few dozen kilometres, the wind and sand transformed the horizon into a blur, making navigation almost impossible. “It was total and utter luck that I chanced upon the Ténéré Tree,” where the refuelling truck was located, explained for example Philippe Drobecq, who was luckier than other competitors, some of whom remained lost for almost four days. The next morning, Thierry Sabine had to struggle between searching for the lost competitors, including swimming champion Christine Caron, and the mechanical problems preventing the organiser’s two helicopters from taking off. He was forced to cancel the following stage for the bikes.