|Dakar 2010: Christian Lavieille with Temperature Problems.|
Dreaded by all of the drivers, the "short special stage" on Monday marked the end of the rally stages and took Team Dessoude into more extreme terrain: The heart of the Rally Raid. With "cathedral" dunes, and soft sand, which buries both vehicles and dreams. And with temperatures of 45° C, welcome to the desert.
Monday evening, the rally has been slightly shaken, with large gaps, tired competitors and vehicles which have seen a hard day’s work. Unfortunately, the Dessoude commando has also been affected - Despite the fact that perfect navigation from Jean-Paul Forthomme had pushed the Dessoude Proto towards the front of the race, before crossing the summits, the needle on the temperature gauge was nearing the limit.
A disappointed Christian explained: "It was very hot in the canyon, and suddenly the car started to overheat. We decided to slow down, but that was not enough, so we stopped to try and find a solution. That was when all the drivers we had managed to overtake got in front of us again. We rapidly found the problem, a simple relay was out of order and the ventilation system was not working. There was no way we could venture into the Erg in those conditions, so we got out the tool box and looked at the electrics. I managed to get the fans working again and we rejoined.
But not for long, because the gauge was still showing unreasonable temperatures. I quickly understood that electricity and me, we don’t mix, because the fans were going round in the wrong direction. The time it took to change over the connections, added to the time spent going slowly and identifying the problem, we lost nearly an hour. But don’t get it wrong - the race is not over yet, and there is still a long way to go."
André Dessoude analysed the situation pragmatically: "The car is perfect, and fast. It is really a shame that a small item like this overheating relay could stop our progress. These evening we could have been up in 7th or 8th position with the factory cars."
This special stage proved to be extremely difficult: Stifling heat, plenty of digging, tyres to deflate and reinflate, overheating. The Dessoude crews were not spared, but like real desert foxes, the crews of Fréderic Chavigny and Jean Brucy but also Jean-Pierre Strugo and Yves Ferry got through this special stage thanks to their willpower.
Just like the Great Wall of Zhou Yong and Sylvain Poncet which is continuing its clockwork progression and is gradually climbing up the overall classification.
The conclusion comes from André Dessoude: "Four of our cars have gone through when many competitors will surely have to give up. My only regret is that we do not have Isabelle and Thierry with us in Fiambala this evening. A broken radiator has meant a long stop. The night has fallen, the buggy is still out on the track, as is the rapid assistance truck. We hope they will soon get back to the bivouac.
It has been a difficult day for Team Dessoude, and the mechanics will have plenty of work and probably no sleep. The desert has reclaimed its rights, the leaders have been shaken, the amateurs have had problems, but Team Dessoude will be at the start of the next stage, which will take them into Chile ! Another difficult day, and which is unlikely to be the last:"
2010/01/05 | 18:04 CET | Editor: MR/HS/Lydie Arpizou