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Dakar 2009: Christian Lavieille best Dessoude Driver.

On Sunday the Dakar reached Patagonia, and despite a short special stage, a particularly tricky track meant that the incidents kept coming. The high temperatures made conditions difficult for both the competitors and their machines on this this leg, which included a ‘monstrous’ liaison sector, 600 km long. Christian Lavieille, with the Proto 05, set the 13th fastest time and gained six places in the overall classification. As for Pavel Loginov, he damaged his clutch, while his co-driver, Kirill Shubin, fell ill. The T2 cars lost a lot of time, with the leaders being caught out by some fesh-fesh, including Jean-Pierre Strugo, who finished in the 78th position. Finally, the Chavigny-Singery duo finally came to the end of this second leg, having suffered in the difficult conditions.

Heading into the Patagonia region, the competitors were able to take measure of the immensity of the Argentine territory. The temperatures started to rise and it was only the beginning. This evening saw some cooler air by the coast, after the competitors received an amazing welcome from the people of the charming town of Puerto Madryn.

After yesterday’s problems, Christian Lavieille was smiling again: "We started off this morning in 25th position, behind a BMW, and a few metres later we were already in his dust. We drove carefully, leaving some space, as it was difficult to set a consistent pace. The navigation got a bit more complicated, and the BMW made a mistake. We made the correction quite quickly and were able to get ahead of him. We then came into a zone with a lot of vegetation and some fesh-fesh; it was really very soft. We even lost part of our wing in the scrub the spines were as hard as steel. Afterwards, while we were setting a steady pace, on a wide track, flat out in 6th gear, we slowed down thinking that a quad was in front of us, but it was just his dust, which was still hanging in the air. We opted to finish the stage ‘quietly’. Our 13th position is not a bad result, as we often slowed down due to visibility problems.

Sunday’s stage was a lot more technically demanding, and the ground was softer. The sandy layer, which was quite soft, meant you needed a lot of power. The fesh-fesh quickly gave way, and I imagine that those who were behind us would really suffer. Temperatures reached 45°C, and it was really starting to get hot. Sunday, with the bushes, the spines and the fesh, the Dakar took on an air of Africa."

Jean-Paul Forthomme really enjoyed his day: "A super stage ! No navigational mistakes, no driving errors - perfect! These 237 km were more technical than yesterday, and much more interesting. However, the liaison sector was, quite frankly, very long."

Pavel Loginov, with a burnt-out clutch in his Pickup 03, was trying to reach the finish line. The T2 cars suffered today. As the T4 trucks were integrated into the overall classification with the cars, the leaders of the category found themselves on the track with a fair number of cars. Going through a rather delicate zone of fesh-fesh, they quite literally broke up the terrain, and it became impossible for the cars to get through. It has made a big difference to the overall classification. Watch this space.

2009/01/05 | 15:06 CET | Editor: MR/HS/L.Arpizou

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