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









Dakar 2007: First day in Mauretania with Hummer victory





The first day in Mauritania, however decisive it may be in the competitors’ minds, is not necessarily crucial for the general rankings. On the finishing line in Zouerat, the gaps were only minimal at the end of an extremely quick stage. In the motorbike race, Jordi Viladoms picked up us first special stage victory. The young Catalan beat his team-mate Marc Coma, who still leads the general rankings. Cyril Despres, after trying to find an alternative route, lost more than 10 minutes. In the car race, Robby Gordon won a third stage victory on the Dakar in his Hummer, but the Volkswagens still reign supreme. In the truck race, Hans Stacey celebrated his new position as leader of the general rankings with a stage victory.

The bikers who like speed will have enjoyed this 6th stage of the Dakar. The 394 km of the special stage were in fact swallowed up within 3 hrs. 45 min, with top speeds of more than 180km/h for some of the favourites. Starting the special stage in 4th position after a long connection section to the border, Jordi Viladoms spent most of the day on his own, with Cyril Despres in his sights, which must have helped him concentrate on his riding. The 27-year old engineer, who had to abandon his first Dakar last year during the penultimate stage, triumphed for the first time on the most prestigious of rally-raids. Viladoms beat his KTM-Repsol team-mate Marc Coma by 57’’.

Despres tried the underhand trick of using an alternative route after around 300 km of the race. The Frenchman’s inspiration proved to be costly! The route to Zouerat, where he dropped out and lost the rally last year following a dislocated shoulder, does not smile upon him. Despres lost more than 10’ today. He is now almost an hour behind Marc Coma, who made do with catching up with Isidre at the front of the race and looking after his lead.

Robby Gordon’s imposing Hummer enjoyed the vast open spaces of the desert and its fast tracks. Cramped since the beginning of the Dakar, the American, whose driving has been more noteworthy through its aggressiveness than by its efficiency, took advantage of a 12th-placed start to pick up his 3rd stage victory and first in Mauritania, having already triumphed in Spain and Morocco in 2005. 36th this morning in the general rankings, Gordon had probably ticked off this special stage in his route book as the one to save his Dakar. The stage also smiled on the big V8 engine of Jean-Louis Schlesser’s buggy, who has already won a special on this Dakar. On the evening of his success in Ouarzazate, the Frenchman admitted he wanted to "score another". He failed, but only 17’’ behind the day’s winner.
Behind, a long way behind, the quickest of the factory drivers today was Giniel De Villiers. The South African finished 6’52’’ behind Gordon, beating his team-mate Carlos Sainz by around thirty seconds, whilst the Mitsubishis continue to suffer in the face of German domination. Luc Alphand, 4th in the general rankings, is now 23 minutes behind Sainz, who is still the race leader.

Guerlain Chicherit was given a lesson in humility by the Mauritanian desert today. Perhaps a little too eager to make up for his mishap yesterday (he led until ten kilometres from the finishing line, but was robbed of victory by a puncture), the best of the BMW X-Raid team members rolled his car onto its roof after 195 km. After having tasted sweet victory last year between Tambacounda and Dakar, the up-and-coming young driver has now tasted the bitter disappointment of dropping out, continuing his apprenticeship of what the Dakar holds in store. Hiroshi Masuoka, even with all the experience he has, avoided dropping out but lost more than an hour on Carlos Sainz after mechanical problems with his Mitsubishi.

Now that Chagin has dropped out, Hans Stacey has shown himself to be the new boss of the truck race. The Dutchman picked up his second victory this year at Zouerat and strengthened his lead over Gerard De Rooy, who is now 48 minutes behind.

2007/01/11 | 22:53 CET | Editor: MR/EP/ASO






















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