|SA-Dakar Rally: French mixed-team Dessoude saddened but still in the race.|
The whole team Dessoude swept into action around the car of Christian Lavieille and Jean-Michel Polato, in order to allow them to continue the adventure. Unfortunately, the Dakar took a different decision, and it was with sadness and emotion that Dessoude decided to withdraw the fleet’s flagship from the race. Despite this blow, Team Dessoude is far from giving up, and is mobilising its forces around the other crews, which are on the pace.
Even after 30 editions of the Dakar, André Dessoude could not hide hisdisappointment. The new car had given rise to many hopes, but unfortunately, the machinery was hit by the hand of fate.
"The car is beautiful, and we wereimmediately conscious of its potential. Therefore, to take the decision to retireis extremely difficult. We tried everything to repair it, but there are issues which cannot be solved at a bivouac."
"The heat and the altitude seriously disturbed the electronic management system, and the car, even if it is still running, cannot continue in the race. Of course, this is a blow to the morale of the whole team, but the event is not over. The adventure must go on, and we still have four vehicles in the event, whose are flying our colours high, and whose performances are bringing us satisfaction."
Christian Lavieille is on the liaison, and joined the team at the day’s bivouac. "What can I say? The car was competitive, and I was waiting impatiently to be able to make the most of its potential, but an incident, which was probably quite minor, is preventing us from doing so. However, we tried everything, starting with the intervention of the assistance team on the stage."
"Thanks to them, we were able to get out of the special stage after spending the night there. I have to say that going through the dunes in the dark, pulled by a truck, is always very impressive! Afterwards, the mechanics searched in vain, as the electronic problem cannot be solved. It is disappointing. One edition of the Dakar may follow another, but sometimes, they are not the same" the French said.
Isabelle Patissier and Thierry Delli Zotti are now one of the best hopes for Team Dessoude to finish on the podium, but as far as Isabelle is concerned, there is no question of changing her policy of taking care of the car.
"We were very cautious today as the very rough terrain is dangerous for the buggies. The rally is only just getting underway, so we will play the safety card and increase the pace very gradually. At the end of the special stage, we went from the rocks to the fords, and then again, considering the way the mechanical parts of the buggy are placed, it is not really our sort of ground. But despite a few problems we got through it all, although at times I dream of having watertight doors and windows."
Frédéric Chavigny and Jean Brucy have finished the apprenticeship phase of the Atacama prototype and their pace is increasing. Today, they gained seven places in the overall classification, and they are hungry for more.
"Each time that we reach the bivouac, it is already a victory, as between the difficulties we face on the route and the intense heat, we could have retired dozens of times. But today, we decided to increase the rhythm, as the car is very pleasant to drive and has no problems. The vehicle is new, and like all new cars, it has a few teething problems! Today, for example, a battery problem almost resulted in a fire. Luckily, it was just a scare, but we still lost 40 minutes."
Thierry Magnaldi and François Borsotto were doing better today than the other cars aiming for the two-wheel-drive podium, but unfortunately, at the end of the special stage, they had to give up their lead.
"A much better day today, and overall we had good rhythm, good navigation and a good feeling. But then we had a puncture at the end of the route, which lost us precious time. However, we have still gained a few places in the overall classification and we are just off the provisional podium. There is still a long way to go!"
The Chinese team Jihong Zhou and Liao Min are going like clockwork. They are covering the kilometres with no problems, and each day they are gaining places in the overall classification: "Every day is different on the Dakar. The route includes various obstacles which are getting larger and larger, and you have to be vigilant. Having had my first taste of the dunes yesterday, today was my first time through a ford. For a beginner, it is not really any easier. Once again, we have reached the bivouac, and it is already a real delight to get back to Team Dessoude."
2012/01/04 | 15:20 CET | ARTICLE: MR/SY/DESSOUDE