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Dunes and more dunes in the Atacama...
Dakar : Team Dessoude - Leg 10
Today's loop around Copiapo was, quite simply, majestic. The competitors were surrounded by magnificent scenery. Unfortunately, Jean-Pierre Strugo was not able to share their enthusiasm, as his return to the bivouac yesterday evening saw his
retirement from the event. As for the duo of Chavigny-Singery, they had another good stage.

First of all, a look back at yesterday's stage, between La Serena and Copiapo. The Strugo-Ferri crew came to a stop shortly after going through CP2. A major fuel leak had flooded the Pathfinder's cockpit. The fissure in the fuel tank meant that fuel was everywhere, with an atrocious smell and a real fire risk. It was impossible to repair it on the spot, and retirement became inevitable.

Desperately disappointed, Jean-Pierre Strugo and Yves Ferri returned to the bivouac behind the assistance truck. « JP » could have managed a good overall finish. But rally raids are not an exact science and everything can change in a matter of seconds. As was proved today...

As far as the « rookies » are concerned, things are progressing well. Frédéric and Stéphane could not hide their delight : « Yesterday's stage, after the first 100 km, and all of today's stage, were quite simply magnificent… the track was quite wide, which meant you could overtake - or be overtaken.
The car was excellent in the sand - it was so light it seemed to be flirting with the dunes. The scenery was amazing. Although the stage was neutralised 40 km from the end, we still saw a large number of people stuck in the sand, and plenty of abandoned planks. For ‘fun', and just to check we hadn't lost the knack, we got stuck on a small dune. In ten minutes, by the clock, we got ourselves out… »

Another fine result and smiling faces as they returned to the bivouac. Mission accomplished ! The last word goes to Frédéric : « A great stage. A great day ! And with tomorrow's special stage having been cancelled, we are just three days from Buenos Aires… »

Tomorrow, due to heavy fog forecast for the Andes region, the special stage has been cancelled. The marathon stage will take place, but without a timed sector. The competitors, without their assistance teams, will proceed to Fiambala, in Argentina, in liaison conditions. More breathtaking scenery will be waiting for them…



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