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Pharaons Rally 2007 Special-Newssection (FIM Cross Country Worldcup)

This is the single-news section of the special of the Pharaons Rally 2007, 5th 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.

Pharaons Rally: Team Dessoude pulls ahead in the overall classification.

The crew of Lavieille and Borsotto did not have the slightest problem today, on the stage between Sitra and Siwa. The Nissan Navara 05 ran like clockwork, allowing Team Dessoude to increase its lead in the overall classification. Carole Montillet and Mélanie Suchet were slightly delayed at the end of today’s leg, due to brake problems after a bump. A long practical mechanical lesson on the side of the track for the former skiers, who never give up.

There was a slight change to today’s programme between Sitra and Siwa. The loop around Siwa, initially planned to take place at the end of the long special stage, was cancelled, to the great joy of the bikers, worn out after these last two days. Jacky Ickx, the event organiser, preferred to opt on the side of caution and to allow the competitors to recover from the extreme heat. However, there were still 334 km of timed sector, mainly consisting of dunes to be crossed, separated by some rocky areas. Real roller-coasters, which made more than one navigator sea-sick today.

Christian Lavieille, remarkably fresh after this leg, is still calm: "It was another good day. We started off quite cautiously, as we had chosen rather low tyre pressures. And on the rocky sections, this choice could mean punctures if the speeds were too high. The dunes were quite spectacular to cross, a real ‘sand motorway’. You can go over ten successive undulations without problems, but the 11th can be a real trap. That’s why you always have to be careful in Eygpt. I slowed the pace for a few kilometers, as François was beginning to feel sick - and yes, it can happen even to the best! We didn’t suffer too much from heat in the cockpit. There is a bit of wind, and on the faster sections, we could get some ventilation. The car was perfect and we are continuing to test the suspension. Tomorrow is a ‘big’ leg, 100% sand. In this heat, it could get a bit complicated."

François Borsotto, Christian Lavieille’s co-driver, is taking part in the Rally of the Pharaons for the first time. His only race experience in Egypt was the 2003 Dakar, when the rally stopped in Siwa. "Yesterday, I was fine, but today I was on the limit. All of a sudden, some sort of violent sea-sickness washed over me. I asked Christian to slow down for a bit, so I could recover and breathe deeply. I had never been ill in a race car, it’s the very first time. The navigation is not too intense, and it gives you some time to admire the magnificent scenery."

André Dessoude is following the progress of his two cars closely, as well as the work undertaken by his team: "The girls had a few problems. They had a collision just before CP4, which ‘tightened’ up the brakes, resulting in some overheating. After CP4, it even blocked up a wheel. But I am very proud of them, as they were able to fix the problem themselves out on the track, and get the car back to the bivouac with hardly any brakes. Technically, it was a good training session before the Dakar. Today and yesterday, I think they learned a lot. It’s perfect - it was the main reason for coming here!

For tomorrow, we have planned to work a lot on the shock absorbers on the Navara 05. The special stage will be 100% sand, and Christian has been told to stop at the service area so that we can make some changes to the settings. He has a lead of nearly an hour, and as we said before the race, our main aim is not to win, but to prepare for the Dakar. We have already improved the engine and the new gear ratios are very satisfactory. We want to get as much technical information as possible before the end of the rally."

The surviving competitors will face a loop around Siwa tomorrow. The start of the stage, up to CP2 (115 km) sees alternating dunes and fast, sandy valleys, which will see quite high average speeds. Afterwards, there will be undulating sandy planes and long sections of fesh-fesh. There will be some mountains, before diving into a big canyon, with sand and fesh-fesh. From CP3 to CP4 (km 264), there are a few rocky plateaus, trial-style, which will slow the pace and allow the competitors to appreciate the ‘comfort’ of the sand. From CP4 to CP5, more dunes, but the competitors will have to take care with the steps and some broken dunes. Finally, from CP5 to the finish line, small dunes around the Siwa gardens will close the stage before heading back to the bivouac.

2007/10/02 | 18:48 CET | Editor: MR/HS/Dessoude

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