Dakar : Team Galp Energia - Leg 11
Day after day, Carlos Sousa is gradually climbing up the overall classification. Maintaining the right rhythm, and with no mechanical problems, the Portuguese driver set the sixth-fastest time today on the special stage between Kayes and
Bamako. A fine performance, for which Carlos thanked his navigator, Jean Marie Lurquin, for his good work … A stone's throw from Dakar, Team Galp Energia is still hanging on.
Navigation, dexterity and care were the most important factors during the eleventh stage. During the last day in Mali, the competitors made their way through the tracks of deepest Africa. The dunes have been replaced by the sumptuous forests and savannas, through which the organisation had drawn up a route of narrow, winding tracks. Navigation became vitally important, with the slightest mistake meaning a dangerous about-turn. After 50 kilometers of liaison on leaving Kayes, the competitors had to remain concentrated and vigilant throughout the 231 km timed stage before slowing down for the 424 km of liaison which would take the Dakar caravan to the capital city of Mali, Bamako.
Carlos Sousa and Jean Marie Lurquin had a busy day. But the thing that surprised Carlos the most was Stephane Peterhansel's reaction when they finished the timed section.
« We had a difficult day, as the navigation was far from easy. There were a lot of parallel tracks, and some potential traps that were not mentioned. It was not easy to choose the right track, but globally, Jean-Marie did a very good job. »
« At the start of the stage, we made a small mistake, without too many consequences. Then afterwards, in order to look for a way-point just outside a village, we arrived by one route, and we saw Peterhansel and Roma coming from another direction. We left first, and we were effectively the trailblazers for them. In a very rough section, with lots of stones, I was driving very slowly, and I expected that the Mitsubishi vehicles would catch up with us and use their horns to warn us. But nothing happened. We got a bit lost again, but no-one overtook us. At the finish line, unfortunately Stephane Peterhansel got a bit carried away in front of the television cameras, accusing us of having blocked him. I am sorry for everything he said and it saddens me that he could have thought such a thing. »
Tomorrow will be a marathon stage, finishing in Labé, in Guinea. This means there will be no assistance on the stage. The teams will have to cope with the means they have on board, or help each other. This first stage in Guinea will take the competitors over some very varied terrain, including fast laterite tracks and fords to cross…
Press Release Team Galp Energia