Dakar : Team Nissan Dessoude - Leg 5
The 28th Dakar is still heading south. Today, the caravan halted in Tan Tan. Tomorrow, they will head for the wide open spaces of Mauritania – and the first large dunes. Navigation will be more crucial than ever, and the co-drivers will
be studying their notes. The ranks are thinning out, and the first retirements have taken place. In the Nissan ‘family', Krysztof Holowczyc and his Pickup retired yesterday evening in Ouarzazate with mechanical problems, and in the Nismo Challenge, the Swedish team of Johansson and Holmstrand are not certain to start again tomorrow.
All the Nismo Challenge teams have crossed the finish line of the special stage, except for the Swedish Dakar Challenge winners…
Brice Fabry, the Team Manager, gave his report : « At this time, all the Nismo Challenge cars have finished the special stage and are driving on the liaison sector, except for the Swedish team from the Dakar Challenge, whose car, it appears, has a broken rear axle. They have broken down 900 metres from the finish line, and are waiting for the race assistance truck. The mechanics will then give me a report, and we will take a decision concerning their car. »
Still in the lead of the provisional classification of the Challenge, Christian Lavieille is continuing his good progress : « We have been very careful, as there were lots of rocks and dust. We took care of the tyres, we did not hit anything, and I did not expect to have set such a good time. I am very satisfied.»
Tony Manresa, smiling as ever, appears to be very satisfied at this stage of the race : «Today was rather a difficult day, as the stage was very rough. We saw a lot of cars stopped on the route, with a lot of damage. I am very pleased, as every day we have made good progress. My co-driver is not very experienced, but he is working hard and learns quickly; we have not got lost. We have no problems at all with the car, and I feel good in the team. The NISMO Challenge is like a big family… »
Concerning the Polish driver Krysztof Holowczyc and his Nissan Pickup, further to the fuel feed problems he encountered during the Moroccan special stage, the engine overheated quite a lot. The air-fuel mix was not rich enough. Yesterday, the engine was working very badly, and the pistons had been damaged. It would have been possible to repair the car, but with no guarantee that it would last. In agreement with the driver, André Dessoude decided to stop the Pickup in Ouarzazate.
Although Carlos Sousa is still working on the suspension settings of his Nissan Navara, and the car is beginning to work well, the Portuguese driver has realised that he cannot fight with the factory cars. His aim from now on will be to reach Dakar in a honourable position.
It was also a good day for the two T2 Pathfinders of Benoît Rousselot and Paul Belmondo. Paul put in a fine stage, and Benoît was just behind him in the stage classification. They are racing as the ‘boss' asked them to do. They are taking care of their cars, considering that assistance will be limited over the next two days.
Japanese driver Jun Mitsushashi and his Nissan Pickup once again managed a very good recovery today. The car is perfect, and he is doing good work. Jacky Dubois is keeping an eye on him. This experience will be very beneficial for Jun, no matter the result. Day after day he is gaining experience, which is vital for his future.
Nissan Team Zhengzhou
No serious problems for the two Team Zhengzhou Nissan Paladins, although Xu Lang had a small difficulty with a towing strap which pierced his radiator, but thanks to Fabian, who stopped the leak, they did not lose too much time.
Xu Lang/Fabian Lurquin : « Everything went well until the 250 km point, when coming out of a small palm grove, a biker braked hard in the fech-fech, and to avoid him, we got stuck. It was not easy to dig, as we were really in the dust. Luckily, our good Samaritan arrived, in the person of René Metge, who attached our strap to his Pathfinder. Unfortunately, when he pulled hard, the strap broke, and it came and punctured the radiator. We lost 40 minutes repairing it. But Xu Lang is still calm, he has really understood what the Dakar is all about. »
Marc Blazquez and Nacho Salvador, in the Nissan Spain Pickup, encountered their first problems since the start of the race. But nothing too worrying. This evening, they are 16th overall. The Spanish team has had an exemplary race so far : « We had a small worry with the clutch, which started to slip towards the end of the stage. We will change it this evening.»
In the Tecnosport team, Andrej Ivanov with his Nissan Pathfinder, is continuing on his way. The Russian driver is keeping his sense of humour, no matter the circumstances : « During this stage, there were about fifteen metres of sand, and we got stuck in them ! It's really a shame, because we were going very well, and we'd overtaken a number of cars … and they all overtook us again. After that we had two punctures. In short, it was not our day. ‘'Not a good day'', as Shinozuka would say.. »
Press Release Team Nissan Dessoude