17 Януари 2004 - 19:59
Люк Алфан се усмихна... пилотът на "X-Raid Team" спечели 12-тия етап на рали Дакар
Disrupted Dakar… Renе Metge reached Nema... (Dakar 2004: Nissan France Dessoude - Leg 10)
Тhe Tidjikja-Nema stage will go down in the history of the Dakar. An extremely difficult stage, which has forced the organisers to modify the ‘rules'. But before that, yesterday evening at the Nema bivouac, the rally organisers announced a change of itinerary for security reasons, concerning the stages planned for today and tomorrow.
In order not to fall in the hands of the rebel gangs operating the Mopti region, through which the rally should have crossed today, the ASO, after consultation with the authorities in France and Mali, decided to modify the route and neutralise two stages. The motorbike competitors were taken to Bamako by plane, while the cars covered 927 km of liaison section towards the Mali capital city. Tomorrow, they will all head for Bobo Dioulasso, by road, a distance of 500 km. But this change of direction comes just at the right time, considering how few of the exhausted competitors emerged from the Tidjikja-Nema stage.
This morning, the Nema bivouac was very empty, which brought about the following decision : «All the competitors who arrive in Nema after 7:30 this morning will receive a fixed penalty of 21 hours. Now, their only obligation, if they wish to continue racing in the rally, is to arrive in Bobo Dioulasso before 18:00, on Monday January 12th, the rest day. »
This was a very welcome decision, considering Paul Belmondo, Isabelle Patissier and Renе Metge are among those stranded in the desert…
Only Thierry De Lavergne managed to reach Nema without too many difficulties, setting the 9th fastest time in the special stage.
Paul Belmondo broke his front drive axle after 50 kilometres, and tried to continue in two-wheel drive. By this evening, he had not yet got out of the infamous special stage, but thanks to this special change to the regulations, everyone hopes…
Isabelle Patissier was not spared the problems either, also having mechanical problems. She too is trying to reach the finish line. The only driver able to get out of this trap was Rene Metge, who reached Nema this evening, having also broken his drive axle, 130 km into the stage…
Plenty of ups and downs for Team Nissan France Dessoude. Everyone hopes that the situation will be clearer tomorrow, and that everyone will make it to Bobo before 6 pm on Monday, so that the adventure can continue.
Nissan France Dessoude [10/01/04 - 22:55]
"I think it will be very difficult to win (interview with Hiroshi Masuoka)
Mitsubishi Motors Motor Sports (MMSP) team drivers reflect on the opening sections of the 2004 Telefonica Dakar Rally at the half-way point in Bamako, Mali. Hiroshi Masuoka is second in the overall standings.
Six stages to go from Tuesday. Are you pleased with your position behind Stephane?
I think it will be very difficult to win. One hour is a long time behind Stephane. I think we must keep second place for now.
Has there been a team order to make you keep to second position at this stage?
No. Nothing at all.
What about the stages this week between Bobo and Dakar?
I think two days will be very difficult. The first will be the one into Tidjikja on Thursday. Then it will be tricky on the stage between Tidjikja and Nouakchott. Only those two days. I think the rest will be okay.
Do you like the traditional Black African stages through Mali and Burkino Faso?
No, not as much as the dunes. There are too many people on the tracks. There are animals, hidden dangers and sometimes we are travelling at high speeds. This is where concentration is so important.
What did you think about the three long stages between Tan-Tan and Nema? Were they too difficult for the amateur teams?
Yes they were too difficult for the drivers at the back of the field. For me they were not too bad, but the Dakar organisers should also think about the other entrants and the mechanics and assistance teams.
What did you think about the decision to cancel two stages this weekend?
I do not think it was a good decision. I wanted to continue all the way through Mopti and on to Bobo. Instead we have to drive a liaison section of 927 kms. That is much too long.
Mitsubishi Motors Team [11/01/04 - 13:48]
Luc Alphand wins today's stage (Dakar 2004 - Leg 12)
Luc Alphand won his first stage victory in this year's edition of the Dakar, at the wheel of his BMW X5 (he also had a stage win last year).
The X-Raid Team driver finished in front of Jean-Louis Schlesser in his Ford Buggy (+ 1"28"), followed by Stephane Peterhansel (+5'40") and Masuoka (+6'23").
The two Volkswagen Race-Touareg of Saby and Kleinschmidt are right behind the Mitsubishi driver, taking fifth and sixth places respectively.
Nissan drivers Colin McRae, Ari Vatanen and Giniel De Villiers were all able to finish the stage in the top 15. The trio takes 13th, 14th and 15th positions respectively.
In the motorcycle category, Cyril Despres won today's 213 km stage in a dominating fashion. The KTM rider finished more than ten minutes in front of everybody !
Despres climbs to fourth place in the overall standings, now only 33'29" behind race leader Nani Roma.
On the other hand, Richard Sainct lost some time on Roma. The gap between Sainct who is in second place in the overall results and the race leader increased from 3'33" to 10'06" after leg 12.
CAPSIS International [13/01/04 - 15:56]