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A three-place improvement for the Dessoude Proto
Dakar : Team Dessoude - Leg 3
While yesterday saw the Dakar suffer in the overwhelming heat, this evening the rain fell on the Jacobacci bivouac. The competitors left Puerto Madryn, on the Atlantic coast, to head west towards Jacobacci. The wind gave way to the rain at the
end of the afternoon, and the temperatures fell dramatically. But nothing affected today's special stage…. Christian Lavieille was running well, gaining three positions in the overall classification.

After his misadventures the day before, Jean-Pierre Strugo had a good stage today, despite a puncture. Following their difficult second stage, Frédéric Chavigny and Stéphane Singery worked hard again today, and are now lying 100th in the overall classification. The 2009 Dakar is over for Pavel Loginov, who was forced to retire after his navigator fell ill yesterday. Kirril Shubin was suffering from heatstroke. He required hospitalisation, and his condition is now satisfactory.

When the competitors left Puerto Madryn, the weather was fine, but arriving at Jacobacci, strong winds were followed by rain, rapidly cooling the atmosphere… just like Morocco in January. For Team Dessoude's leading car, the Proto of Christian Lavieille and Jean-Paul Forthomme : « Todo Bien ! » Setting 13th position overall, and 14th in the special stage, it was a good day…

« The day started off stressfully, when the intercom, the radio link between the driver and co-driver, failed. We used the backup, and all went well.
I definitely didn't want to find myself cut off during the special stage… We drove calmly, without attacking, keeping the right pace, and this evening we gained three positions overall. We should not forget that this is only the third day of the event and many difficulties still lie ahead of us. Today's route was quite fun, with fast sections, some off-road and some winding parts. On the last, very fast, sector, we held back, in order to safeguard our tyres, to avoid punctures or a blown tyre. The scenery, with the cliffs in the Pampas, was really superb. »

As for Jean-Pierre Strugo and Yves Ferri, who, like many other T2 competitors, were imprisoned in the fesh-fesh yesterday after the trucks had gone through, they had a « pleasant » day today, despite a puncture : « Starting off in 131st position this morning, we knew that it would not be easy. While yesterday's stage was something of a lottery, today we had the first true Dakar stage. Fast sections, some fesh-fesh, ruts, some nice, winding parts. A good day's drive… the Pathfinder is behaving beautifully. This evening we are 5th in the T2 category. The rally is only just getting underway… »
Frédéric Chavigny and Stéphane Singery, in Team Dessoude's second Nissan Pathfinder, are learning more about the specific challenges of a Dakar event with every passing day. The joys of fesh-fesh, for example… But our two friends have wills of steel, and are not the type to give up easily. Taking each day as it comes, they are currently 100 th overall. Not bad for total beginners.

« Every day, we are discovering more about rally raids, and we are doing our best to reach the bivouac each evening. It is a totally new experience, but it is far from over…»

Finally, for Pavel Loginov and Kirill Shubin, the 2009 Dakar adventure came to an end yesterday. After suffering from a clutch failure on the track, Kirill then felt ill. Suffering from bad heatstroke and dehydration, they had to head for the Santa Rosa hospital for a check-up. Everything is now under control, and his condition is satisfactory.

Tomorrow, the competitors head north, to Neuquen. The stage will be 380 km long, instead of the 450 km initially planned. The day includes both fast and winding sections, as well as off-road driving and some tricky parts…

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