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Difficult leg for Carlos Sousa
Dakar 2006: Team Galp Energia
Carlos Sousa and Jean Marie Lurquin have had a relatively difficult day. After two punctures in the first 70 km, the Team GALP ENERGIA crew had to hold back for the rest of the 386 km special. At the end of the timed stage, a navigation error
was to add another few minutes to their lost time.
This fourth leg, between Er Rachidia and Ouarzazate, included the first difficulties of the event. The stage was particularly rough, but also very varied, as they met the first small dunes. Shovels and boards came out for the less fortunate …This evening also saw the first retirements.
Carlos Sousa's Nissan Navara did not get stuck in the sand, but it did suffer two punctures :

« It was not a very good day. We had two punctures. The first came after just fifteen kilometres … then the second at the 66 kilometre point. It was not very reassuring, on a 386 km stage, to have only one spare tyre left. Two punctures in 70 km does not give you a lot of confidence for the rest of the route. I drove carefully, always holding something in reserve. Towards the end, Jean-Marie made a small navigational mistake. We went down one track, but Jean-Marie was not certain of his choice. So we turned round, until we worked out it was the right route. I hope that everything will go better tomorrow. »

As for Jean Marie Lurquin, he slightly lost confidence in his navigation at one point, and preferred to ask Carlos to turn round :

« Towards the end of the timed stage, there was a correction to the Road Book that was not very clear. We took a track that I thought was wrong, and I asked Carlos to go back. Unfortunately, I had been right all along…We lost around ten minutes. But the two punctures, so close together, really spoiled the rythym. If we had a third, we would have been without a spare wheel. Carlos lifted off, and I think he did the right thing, the ground was so rough. »

Tomorrow, they are faced with a long stage between Ouarzazate and Tan Tan. 187 km of liaison, followed by a 350 km special stage, and then finally a 282 km liaison to reach Tan Tan. The route will feature alternating fast sections and potential traps…
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