- GRANADA - DAKAR 1998
LEG 12 : TIMBUKTU - NEMA
Distance : 559 KM
Stage distance : 551 KM
Tuesday, January 13, 1998
FONTENAY INCREASES PARIS-DAKAR LEAD IN MITSUBISHI PAJERO
French pair Jean-Pierre Fontenay and Gilles Picard
increased their lead on the 12th leg of the 20th
Paris-Dakar between Timbuktu in Mali and Nema in
Mauritania, today, January 13, despite a concerted drive
for victory by Mitsubishi team mates and fellow
countrymen, Bruno Saby and Dominique Serieys.
Driving the Team Off Road Express Mitsubishi Ralliart
Pajero, Fontenay was relieved to find his lead extended
by around two minutes over Saby at Nema, despite the fact
that his team mate and main rival had, in fact, overtaken
him by a minute at the first checkpoint on the 551 km
It has been another tough day, filled with drama, along
the "Smuggler's Trail" from Mali back into
Mauritania, tracking north of West Africa's largest lake
during the rainy season, Lake Faguibine. After
60 km of twisting, sandy tracks the route opened up into
the Sahara Desert once more, but camel grass - desert
plants whose rock-like roots make large, hard,
suspension-breaking humps in the sand - and endless
ranges of dunes, made the going particularly slow and
Driving the Team PIAA Mitsubishi Ralliart Pajero, Saby
made his bid for glory from the start of the stage near
Timbuktu, hoping to overtake his Mitsubishi team-mate and
set himself up to score his second Dakar victory, but it
was not to be thanks to an unusual incident 200 km from
the finish. A local camel herder pulled a cable tight
across the track at head height as Saby approached at
speed. Luckily, no-one was hurt, but the cable ripped the
air vents and spoilers from the roof of the car.
Saby described the incident, explaining: "A man by
the side of the road, a camel farmer collecting water, I
think, pulled the cable tight across the road just as we
arrived. It sliced the top off the car. We went back to
look, but he had gone. It was a horrible, hard stage, all
second and third gear - very twisty."
Saby's time loss allowed Fontenay to increase his lead.
He revealed: "It was hard on the body and the car
today. For the first 160 km the wind was behind us, which
affects the cooling, and all the temperature alarms were
going off! It was OK after we changed heading."
Driving the Team Mitsubishi Oil Ralliart Pajero, third-placed
crew, Japanese driver Kenjiro Shinozuka and French
navigator Henri Magne, were fastest on today's stage,
although Shinozuka admitted: "It was a terrible
stage - twisty with soft sand. It took us seven hours and
40 minutes to do 550 km. It was new, but not nice. Now
there are two marathon stages, but I don't think they
will be as hard."
Japanese driver Hiroshi Masuoka and his German co-driver
Andreas Schulz remain settled in fourth place in their
Team Mitsubishi Oil Ralliart Challenger/Montero Sport
with a comfortable margin over Jean-Louis Schlesser's
buggy, which lies fifth. Portuguese driver Carlos Souza
and his French co-driver Philippe Rey are still going well
in their Mitsubishi Strada.
Just 88 motorbikes, 50 cars and 13 competing trucks
started today's stage.
SS 12 -
NEMA - 551 KM
CLASSIFICATION after SS12
/ G. PICARD
/ D. SERIEYS
/ H. MAGNE
/ A. SCHULZ
|5.J.L.SCHLESSER / A.C.
|6.P.ALLIOT / J. DUBOIS
|7.T.DE LAVERGNE / L.
|...C.SOUZA / P. REY
updated 8:00 pm
Wednesday, January 14, 1998
LEG 13 : NEMA - TIDJIKJA
Distance : 749 KM
Stage distance : 745 KM
The second of the Dakar's tough marathon sections starts
tomorrow with the "Thierry Sabine Trophy"
stage, dedicated to the event's founder. This track was
first discovered by Sabine in 1985, but this year, the
remaining competitors are expected to cover the stage in
one day - in 1985 it took two! This stage is widely
expected to be the toughest of the entire event, possibly
one of the hardest in the Dakar's history. Among other
obstacles, the competitors will face the famous Enji
Pass, and the "Mountain of Elephants", a great
sea of massive sand dunes.
MITSUBISHI OIL/ PIAA/OFF ROAD EXPRESS/MICHELIN/ HALF