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Dakar 2007: Nissan Dessoude´s report on the way to Senegal.

The Dessoude Protos of Yvan Muller and Miguel Barbosa finished in 12th and 14th Position on the 12th stage of the 2007 Dakar Rally, while Jean-Pierre Strugo only gained one minute on the current T2 leader, Jun Mitsuhashi. Paul Belmondo was close behind his team-mate, despite a slight navigational mistake.

Today’s leg by Teamchef André Dessoude: It was satisfying today to see that the new suspension settings on Yvan’s car proved to be efficient; the car handled well. There was a slight worry, however, as on landing after a jump, René Metge impacted two vertebras. Although not too serious, it is painful. Miguel Barbosa lost time due to a navigation error, and hit a large branch which broke his windscreen and damaged the front left wing. Both Nissan Pathfinders drove well, but in the overall classification, it looks to be more and more difficult to catch Jun Mitsuhashi, barring incidents.

He has a very comfortable lead, and will now be difficult to win the Production category. But nothing is ever over before reaching the finish line in Dakar. Finally, the T5 truck, which had set off to find Carole Montillet and Mélanie Suchet before becoming lost itself, reached us yesterday. Our three mechanics are well, and were very relieved to see the Mauritanians who came to find them. At that point, they only had one bottle of water left in the truck.

Jean-Pierre Strugo - Nissan Pathfinder T2: "We really enjoyed driving this stage. The tracks were technical and very winding. Thirty kilometres from the end, we caught up with a truck and a bike, and then we had to drive in their dust. It’s a shame, as up to that point, we’d been quiet. Unfortunately, we only gained one minute on Jun Mitsuhashi."

Paul Belmondo - Nissan Pathfinder T2: "I had a reasonable time on this stage. The sand was quite soft on the track, and because of the dust, visibility was not fantastic. The aim was to get to the end which we did without problem, despite a small navigation problem".

Guy Leneveu -Paul Belmondo’s co-driver - Nissan Pathfinder T2: "The navigation was quite complicated, with plenty of changes of direction. I made a small mistake which lost us two or three minutes. The great thing today was the ever-changing scenery and the wonderful welcome from the local population. They are always so friendly, in Mali.»

Yvan Muller - Proto Dessoude: "The scenery was quite radically different. The main difficulty today was to manage the combination of trees and stumps, while trying not to get lost. The suspension is finally satisfactory, the problem is now solved."

René Metge - Proto Dessoude: "There were no dunes today, but some small broken dunes in the vegetation. We took off on one of these, and landed on the nose. It was quite a hard landing, and I have two impacted vertebras."

Miguel Barbosa - Proto Dessoude: "We started off well this morning and the start of the special stage went very well. We overtook some buggies and Monterde. But at the 180 km point, Giniel de Villiers overtook us just as the navigation was getting complicated. We went off in the wrong direction and lost around ten minutes before finding the right route again. This sort of thing is part of the race. I don’t blame Miguel."

2007/01/19 | 14:22 CET | Editor: MR/Dessoude

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