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Optic 2000 Tunisia 2007 Special-Newssection (FIM Cross Country Worldcup)

This is the single-news section of the special of the Optic 2000 Tunisia Rally 2007, 1st round of the FIM Worldcup for Cross Country Rallys. To see all news please use the link under the article or navigate with the left main-navigation.

Optic Tunisia: Mission accomplished for Nissan Team Dessoude.

After eight intense days of racing, the surviving competitors in the 2007 edition of the Rally Optic 2000 Tunisia reached Tozeur Saturday. The last special stage was no picnic, but the Team Dessoude crews came through brilliantly. In the final overall classification, Christian Lavieille and François Borsotto finished on the second step of the podium, after an exemplary race.

Lavielle, from the Var region of France, was extremely satisfied with this Tunisian week and gave his comments: "The last special stage was quite nice for us, but it was far from being a formality. If we had been fighting for a place in the overall classification, it would have been tough. I am very satisfied with this rally. We didn’t have to get out of the car during a timed stage even once. We didn’t have any punctures, we didn’t get stuck in the sand, we had no mechanical problems. The Navara had been prepared remarkably well before the event, a fact I would like to emphasise, as three weeks before the rally, we still didn’t know if we would be taking part.

Well done to the whole team. During the event, the team of mechanics did an excellent job, giving us a totally reliable car every morning. Thanks also to François and his professional attitude. André Dessoude had given us the objective of finishing on the podium. We did the race we needed to do, while keeping an eye on Jean Louis Schlesser should he make a mistake! Like any driver, I would have preferred to win, but I’m delighted with this result, especially as Jean-Louis didn’t make a single mistake. Team Dessoude has claimed a number of wins since the Dakar (Russia, Italy, Portugal) but a good result with the Navara on an African event is good for everyone. We’ll be celebrating tonight."

François Borsotto is also savouring this good result: "A last-minute entry, a good car and a good result - what more can you ask for? I must admit that to make it even better, the atmosphere in the team was particularly convivial. A really good week".

In Production, Team Dessoude, reigning holder of the FIA Marathonrally Worldcup with Christian Lavieille, lived up to its reputation in the category. The Nissan Pathfinder is still the car to beat. The trio of Pathfinders entered by the Wizard of de St-Lô really enlivened this Rally of Tunisia. A fratricidal war between the three crews kept the suspense going until the very end.

At the end of the day, it was Laurent Rosso who emerged victorious from the duel, having fought hard to keep Jean-Pierre Strugo behind him. Paul Belmondo, who had problems two days ago, had to leave his team-mates to fight it out between themselves. He finished fourth in the category, with his team-mates claiming a fine one-two.

André Dessoude, satisfied with this rally of Tunisia, drew up this report: "Christian put in a perfect performance. He could not have done better or caught Jean-Louis Schlesser. We had no technical problems, no breakdowns, nothing. This is very satisfying, and the aims we had set ourselves in terms of results have been perfectly fulfilled. Christian finished second, with a lead of one hour over his nearest rival. We knew beforehand that the Navara was reliable. We won recently in Portugal with Miguel Barbosa, but this result in Africa was very important for us. We also know that there are areas which need to be improved, we are aware of this. We are working with Reiger on the suspensions, to find the best solution, and we are waiting, in terms of the regulations, to know whether we can keep our 6-speed gearbox or whether we need to go over to a 5-speed.

Finishing behind Jean-Louis Schlesser, who is a real reference, allows us to gauge our performance. Christian lifted off at the end of the rally, to make sure of his second place, and this was a very wise decision. We needed this result, and we hope it’s the start of a long series.

In T2, we saw a fine fight within the team, first from all three, and then the remaining two. Laurent Rosso put up good resistance to Jean-Pierre Strugo’s attacks, and handled the pressure well. My only regret is that we could have claimed a triple win without the broken front axle support in Paul’s car yesterday.

I am very happy with the global result of this race, and satisfied with my troupes. We will continue the season with a very full programme. We have another race next weekend with the Portuguese Baja Championship. There is no time to relax, but morale is good and Team Dessoude is still there!"

There is no time for the team to catch their breath. Team Dessoude should also be entering the Rally Transiberico (Spain and Portugal) next month, which will be the first round of the World Cup for Cross Country Rallies, after Tunisia’s withdrawal.

2007/04/11 | 10:53 CET | Editor: MR/HS/Dessoude

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