|OiLibya Rally of Tunisia: Lavieille with stagewin on SS05, but penalty.|
Leading the rally of Tunisia, Christian Lavieille decided this morning to give himself a slightly more comfortable lead over his direct rival Jean-Louis Schlesser. Setting off at maximum attack, the French driver set a high pace to make the most of the sectors which favoured the Dessoude Proto.
The plan paid off, as in this configuration, Lavieille had a lead of over nine minutes over Schlesser - it looked as if the path towards victory was clear. But this ideal plan came to nothing after the race direction, applying the regulations, awarded a 30-minute penalty for failing to respect the speed limit in the deceleration zone at the service area. A real blow for Team Dessoude, reducing a whole week of hard work to nothing.
André Dessoude, very disappointed with this decision, considers the penalty to be disproportionate: "It was very tough, and I consider it to be exaggerated. 30 minutes for around a hundred metres over the speed limit, is a heavy and rather un-sporting penalty. After Jean-Michel Polato’s road book came undone, and he was trying to pick up the pages, Christian braked hard. It is a high price for an unfortunate sequence of events, especially compared to five days of exemplary racing, as proved by today’s stage. I do not dispute the sanction; I just think that it is out of proportion to the infraction."
It is not very sportsmanlike. Overall, Christian Lavieille is now lying second, 18 minutes behind Jean-Louis Schlesser and with a 12-minute lead over Leonid Novitskiy.
In the T2 field, Laurent Rosso was finally able to enjoy some dunes. With both dexterity and expertise, the Frenchman got through the various difficulties without questions. Overall, he has strengthened his lead in the category, with a lead of 35 over his direct rival, Russian driver Varentsov. Friday, Laurent will have to maintain his advantage while keeping his eye on the valuable points for the World Cup.
Joseph Rosso wanted to be a gentleman by letting faster competitors go past, but by leaving the route, the blue and white Patrol got stuck. Shovels and planks came out, and time was lost. Georges Macon did a fine job behind the wheel of his Pathfinder. Good navigation, only getting stuck one, and around 15 minutes lost, nothing to bother the team from Normandy.
Friday, the final stage will take the competitors from Ksar Ghilane to Douz through sandy tracks, small dunes, sand banks and then the major ergs and their golden dunes.
2010/05/07 | 11:20 CET | ARTICLE: MR/HS