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Coma fastest, Despres second
Rally Raid Dakar 2006: Leg 9 - First news
The last Mauritanian special is also the longest of the whole rally. For close to 600km, the competitors will have to cover huge dune portions. Between these crossings, faster tracks will allow the bikers and drivers to rest. But
these fast tracks are also very rocky.
After the nightmare of stage 8 from Atar to Nouakchott, the contenders for stage victory will be numerous in the Volkswagen team, starting with Carlos Sainz and Bruno Saby, that have lost all hope of overall success. The terrain should suit the Race Touareg II but also the Mitsubishis of Luc Alphand and Stéphane Peterhansel, that will start an internal battle in the Japanese team and will fight for every single second. The bikers will again start in the reverse order of the previous stage, like stage 7. David Casteu will therefore take off last.

Casteu last to start
Like for stage 7 between Zouerat and Atar, the bikers have started today's stage 9 between Nouakchott and Kiffa in the reverse order of the previous special. David Casteu has therefore taken off last at 8:20, two minutes after Chris Blais and four minutes after Cyril Despres.

Time penalty for De Gavardo

Chile's Carlo De Gavardo was given a 1 hour time penalty yesterday for speeding during stage 8 from Atar to Nouakchott. The speed limit for the bikers is this year of 160 km/h. The KTM-Repsol therefore drops from third place overall to fifth 1h11'46" adrift. A very disappointed De Gavardo admitted he didn't quite understand. Before this time penalty he was within shooting distance of race leader Marc Coma (11'46").

Quite a few bikers have been given 2 hour time penalties for missing out on a way point (WPM) during stage 8 betwen Atar and Nouakchott. Among the top riders who missed the GPS point are Jean De Azevedo, Andy Caldecott, Michel Gau and David Frétigné.

Coma fastest, Despres second
At CP1 (km 124) Marc Coma has set the fastest time. The Spaniard has a 51" lead on Cyril Despres and 59" on Arvis Vinters.

Cars on their way to CP1
The first cars have covered about 100kms... Taking off first after winning the previous special, Thierry Magnaldi has been caught by overall leader Stephane Peterhansel.
Press Release Amaury Sport Organisation

     Gordon Hummer effort fades in North African desert
     Comments on the rest day
     David Casteu captured his first ever success
     Ellen Lohr draws positive balance
     Mitsubishi prepares for final week of Dakar Rally
     Volkswagen in leading trio at half-way stage
     It was hell out there !
     A difficult day for Benoit Rousselot !
     Best finish yet for Sperrer and Floene
     Team Galp Energia moves into the Top Ten overall

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