Jan 10, 2015
A problem-free day and 22nd-fastest time for the JUKE Buggy !
Day saw the competitors head for Iquique, the town in the far north of Chile that was not only the end of the stage but will also be the location of the rest day in day two days time. The sixth stage included 322 km of liaison, most of which ran along the coast, before setting off to attack the 277 km timed sector.
In the morning, only two Team DESSOUDE cars lined up to take the start, the Juke Buggy of Thierry MAGNALDI and the DESSOUDE N05 from Chinese driver LIU Kun. Although ZHONG Lei crossed the stage finish line yesterday evening, behind the wheel of the second Proto (#363), a roll on the timed stage finally forced his retirement.
André DESSOUDE explains the incident. ” Due to the fesh-fesh, visibility was disastrous on this special stage. ZHONG did not see a rock that was on his trajectory, and he hit it with one of the rear wheels. The rock acted like a trampoline and catapulted the car, which rolled before finally falling back on its wheels. The crew was able to get back to the bivouac, but unfortunately the roll cage was deformed in the crash. This morning, the race direction did not give their approval to allow the car to continue in this condition. These are imperative safety issues, and there are no discussions possible. We accepted the decision without question. ZHONG is rather disappointed, but he has understood that this is a matter of his safety, and that of his co-driver.”
Between Antofagasta and Iquique, Thierry MAGNALDI, Guy LENEVEU and their Juke Buggy made good speed, finishing the stage in 22nd position. A very good performance on a rather tricky stage.
“Although we started in the middle of the trucks, and to the contrary of what I thought yesterday, it did not turn out to be a major problem. There was a good gap in front of us to allow us to have a clear track and to avoid all the problems of dust. We therefore managed to get up to speed without any issues. For a few kilometres we used the rail tracks to do some overtaking. The only real problem was that we got stuck once, which lost us a bit of time. At the end of the stage, there were 20 km of rather difficult dunes to cross. Although we got through without issues, I’m sure that some competitors will be spending the night there…”
The sole surviving Proto N05, the # 393 of LIU Kun and LIAO Min did not lose time either, setting a fast pace. The Chinese driver enjoyed the day, and crossed the finish line in 33rd position.
“The special stage went well. We did not make any mistakes. And the car went like clockwork. We set a great time, and really enjoyed this stage. No navigation mistakes, we didn’t get stuck in the dunes and we didn’t have to make any unscheduled stops. Just real driving pleasure… ”
Tomorrow will see the car competitors head into a new country, Bolivia. The Dakar first visited Bolivia in 2014, but for two stages and only with the bikes. This year, everyone will cross the border, but not on the same day. Moreover, this Bolivian excursion will be a marathon stage for the cars, the first such stage for this category since 2005. So, after 396 km of liaison, they will set off for a 321 km special stage before reaching the Uyuni bivouac, where there will not be any of the usual assistance vehicles. The crews will have to cope alone. The first priority will undoubtedly be to save the tyres, as they will have to get them back to Iquique on Sunday, in order to make the most of the rest day on January 12th.
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