|Silk Way Rally: A long and difficult SS03 stage for French team Dessoude.|
Between Volgograd and Astrakhan, the word "rally raid" made perfect sense on Tuesday. In the sweltering heat of a nearly 500 km stage with many traps, the competitors of the "Silk Way Rally" turned into track convicts. The scorching temperatures in Russia have not released the pressure on competitors.
Even the most experienced admitted having suffered much. Despite some incidents, the three cars of the French team Dessoude came out without too much trouble. Christian Lavieille finished at 13th place overall after breaking one of its inflation-deflation systems, pushing him to use shovels and plates. Yves Tartarin ends on 15th position despite a “flying” steering wheel and Frederic Chavigny signed a superb 17th place, spared from any trouble. Tomorrow, the stage should be as difficult, but the fifth one should be worse.
Although finishing in 13th place, Christian Lavieille and Jean-Michel Polato have had misfortunes and Buggy Juke must concede nearly one hour. "It was long and complicated. From the start, we had a slow puncture but after we drove well on a steady pace," Lavieille reported.
"At 150 km, the support of the inflation-deflation system broke. We stopped to change the wheel and lost 6 to 7 minutes. At km 250, at the beginning of the dunes area, we were a bit short in tyres pressure and we deflated. When trying to get out of the traces, we failed in a dish. We were really stuck! We took the shovels and plates and the exercice lasted around 30 minutes."
"We had to play it safe because it became impossible to inflate on the right side. The fan, like yesterday, had some weaknesses and at the end of dunes, we had to stop again. There was still a lot of navigation and Jean-Michel had to do a big job, he cannot say that this rally is boring for him! All competitors are very tired tonight and there is quite a lot of damage on the cars."
With the 17th fastest time, Fred Chavigny and Jean-Paul Forthomme are not unhappy, especially to have joined the bivouac safely and without any mechanical trouble. "This stage was really hard. I raced five Dakars and this is my fifth Silk Way but I think I had never seen such a demanding stage," he said.
"The heat is terrible and bodies are tired. Tonight, I will go to bed quite early. We had no problem with the car and if this goes on like this, we will not be too bad on classification at the finish. Jean-Paul and I decided to make the Atacama lighter and to let shovels and plates in the service truck! During such a day, finishing 17th overall is very satisfying."
2013/07/10 | 18:29 CET | ARTICLE: MR/DESSOUDE/HS