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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…

     Three questions for Andreas Lautner, Technical Director
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