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This is the single-news section of the news "Offroad & Motorsports". To see all news please use the link under the article or navigate with the left main-navigation.

Budapest Bamako: A very crazy stage in Morocco.

This is the wish of any rally drivers: on the 3rd stage from Assa to Smara in Western Sahara the length of the special was 437 km, about two thirds of it offroad. The first half of the track was stony and hard – the second half very fast. That lead on old, arid salt lakes, in which some of the participants drove flat out. The roadbook asked the participants for special attention when the route lead between minefields on the border of Morocco and Western Sahara.

„A crazy stage” – reported Attila Nagy from the leading Volkswagen Touareg trio. “We drove at full speed on the salt lake, about 180 km/h, like on a motorway.” But there was a heavy price to pay for the high speed: “It was straight on for kilometers, no bumps, no holes, nothing. But all of a sudden there in the middle of the road there was the only bump of the day. It lifted us and we flew about 15 meters, everything in the car messed up. We stopped to evaluate the damages but we had luck: a punctured wheel and some damages on the protector of the undercarriage was all. Surprisingly the car endured. We didn’t prepare anything on the car and we would like to sell it in Bamako.

One of the Hungarian Mitsubisi teams had more bad luck: they reached the mentioned place only some minutes later and rolled their L200. For their luck, nobody was injured. First to reach the place of the accident was the Czech Hummer Racing Team. They rendered them first aid and helped the L200 back on its wheels. After some quick repairs the pickup was able to drove on, and despite the missing windscreen the team wants to continue.

The weather is like at the Dakar 2005: the ground temperature is at 18 degrees ok, but the wind blows very cold and gets into any tent and any clothes. Moreover came again some rain which escorted the participants for a big part of the stage.

As camp the organizers chose a ‘ghost town’ near Smara, which was not as unpopulated as it was supposed: some touaregs moved in the empty and half shattered houses. What followed was a good example of international culture: instead of isolation, some of the touaregs tried to get into conversation with the rally participants. They shared their food, played with sweet baby goats and gave the children T-shirts and sweets. It is quite rare to see such a ‘get together’ of the nations…

On Saturday the participants have the longest stage in Africa: 770 km until the first camp in Mauritania. But this long way is to be covered on tarmac roads, the offroad section restarts only on Sunday.

2009/01/26 | 01:30 CET | Editor: MR/HS/Rita Konya

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