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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 Nissan Dessoude in the land of the Pharaons.

No sooner had they landed in the Egyptian capital city Cairo yesterday, the competitors in the 2007 edition of the Rally of the Pharaons had to concentrate on the traditional administrative and technical scrutineering. A relaxed atmosphere before the real work gets underway, when they will set off for the first leg, taking them to the Baharija oasis. In the Dessoude clan, Christian Lavieille and Carole Montillet cannot hide their pleasure, smiling brightly at the thought of setting out on the trails…

Once more, Team Dessoude is present for this traditioal pre-Dakar event. The Rally of the Pharaohs (organised by JVD) is celebrating ten years of competition this year. A fine anniversary, proof of the enduring nature of the event, full of charm and an excellent training ground a few months before the Dakar, thanks to the variety of ground it covers.

Team Dessoude is entering two cars this year, for two crews raring to go, and keen to put in some intense work for a week. Christian Lavieille will be back behind the wheel of the Nissan N05 with which he finished in second place during the Rally of Tunisia last April. He will be accompanied by François Borsotto, his navigator since the last Dakar.

As for Carole Montillet and Mélanie Suchet, they will be driving a Nissan Pathfinder, but this time in the T1 category. The two former skiers are therefore moving up to the top category with an extremely reliable and well-tested car.

André Dessoude, the "boss", has made no secret of his motivation on this event: "Our number one objective is to work hard this week, most particularly on Christian Lavieille’s car. We took the gamble of doing a lot of work and undertaking a life-size test instead of using a track in France, not always suited to the event. The Rally of the Pharaohs gives the perfect ground to run our programme, and the sand will play a major role in this preparation, three months before the Dakar. All the conditions are present in order to have a real feeling for what will be waiting for us in Africa. Of course, if the result at the end of the event is satisfying, we will be delighted, but to be quite honest, that is not our priority.

The daily legs allow us to get to the bivouac quite early. This means we have the afternoons to work, more specifically on the suspension and the engine of the N05, but also to give the girls some important lessons in mechanics. Knowing your car really well allows us to gain a lot of time on the ground should there be any minor problems on the track, and of course that is vital for the Dakar.

We decided to go from the T2 to the T2 for Carole and Mélanie. It is a very solid Dakar vehicle, which may suit their characters better. So the atmosphere will be a very studious one this week, but I am sure that the mood will be a good one!"

As far as the crews are concerned, there is little stress but a certain impatience to get underway and rediscover the wide open spaces. Christian Lavieille has fully understood André Dessoude’s aims: "We are there to keep up the pace and most importantly, to work. André made the right choice. It is a lot more beneficial to test improvements or more radical changes during an event than at a track, which is a lot less indicative of the realities met out on the trails. After Tunisia, we undertook an analysis together of both our strong points and our weaknesses. Our aim is to improve the car, and we have a week to do it. The result ? We’ll have to wait and see!"

Carole Montillet and Mélanie Suchet are, as usual, smiling and full of good humour. Their determination and willingness to learn are a pleasure to the whole team. Like scouts, they are always prepared!

Tomorrow, the serious work gets underway with a 316 km special stage between Cairo and Baharija. A rather classical start for the regulars, but there are still a few potential traps to be avoided. In the final stages of the special, there is a trial zone over a few kilometers, before climbing up on two plateaux, via magnificent sand banks, leading directly to the Baharija bivouac. A fantastic finish point for all those heading to the bivouac, who usually do not get to see the race at all !

2007/09/30 | 14:05 CET | Editor: MR/Team Dessoude/Rita Konya

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