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Back in Guinea
Rally Dakar 2006: Leg 12 - Before the start
For the first time since 1996, the Dakar returns to Guinea. A good opportunity for the competitors to test themselves in a real bush stage. The long portions on laterite tracks will make things complicated for overtaking. One
will need excellent driving skills especially in the water crossings. Quite a few bikers should wet their legs. On the fast sections co-drivers will have to be extra careful and signal the bumps, holes, stones…
In the bike race, this kind of course could perfectly suit the enduro specialists. Portuguese bikers Ruben Faria or Helder Rodrigues will be men to watch especially after impressing in the first European stages of the rally. In the car race, overtaking will be a key factor. The cars taking off first of De Villiers and Saby will have a big advantage added to the fact that they have the kind of skills and vehicles to conquer victory.

Last night 23h00 : Jutta still in Kayes
In the Volkswagen team, the day's been excellent for Giniel De Villiers, but a lot less for Jutta Kleinschmidt, who wasn't able to go further than 12kms of the special. Her assistance truck abdicated seeing how serious the damage was after the Race Touareg hit a tree. The German was eventually taken back to Kayes. She might head to Dakar to wait for her team mates.

Last night 23h40 : Getting ready for Guinea
The journey to Guinea will be done without the T5 assistance vehicles. In the VW team, like in all the others, time has come to prepare the cars so that they manage to cover two stages with a minimum maintenance. While Bruno Saby's car returns from a test drive, all the other cars go through a major check-up. We want to make sure that the drivers don't have to change parts themselves tomorrow. Carlos Sainz almost ripped off a rear wheel. We will have to change everything. »

0h10 : Medical roundup
Four evacuations to close by hospitals took place during the day. One for a broken leg, one for a back trauma, one for a broken finger and one for a face trauma. « The surprising thing is that for the first time we had to treat more car competitors than bikers. We went through 60 medical checks and two had to be treated in a Bamako hospital. » explains a member of the medical staff.

1h00 : Tests continue
Car number 309 of Mark Miller and truck 513 of Andre De Azevedo return from test drives outside the bivouac.

1h15 : Third engine change
At the ‘bike trunk' plane, Spaniard Amador Ferrer helps Venezuela rider Francisco Gomez to repair his bike. For Gomez, it's the third time since the start of the rally that he broke and repaired his engine. Just as often as David Frétigné.

1h20 : The Dakar on a 500 XT
Henno Van Bergeik has a goal of driving his old Yamaha 500 XT all the way to Dakar. The project is slowly starting to become true but the Dutch rider that receives a warm welcome at the ‘bike trunks' is exhausted. « I refused to go into the broom-wagon truck quite a few times yesterday but I'm really tired. To get here, I had to stop at least 3 or 4 times to sleep on the liaison course. Today I stopped in a farm where I even had food and took a shower. That's why I'm so late. Now, I have to take care of the engine and change the oil and filters. »

2h45 : Gache not sure
While the big factory teams finish their work, it's still very busy around Philippe Gache's buggy, seriously damaged after hitting a tree. « The tubular chassis is damaged and that's very difficult to repair. We don't have a lot of time left and I'm not sure that we'll be able to do the necessary work to carry on. »

2h55 : Asaga loses his title
Winner of the production class last year, Japan's Asaga committed a fatal mistake on the special. His Toyota was seriously damaged. A total change of the front part is necessary and such a modification means that Asaga will be forced to go from the T2 to the T1 category.
Press Release Amaury Sport Organisation

     Le Team Galp Energia continues to make progress
     Rousselot sets the second-fastest time in his category
     Lohr wants to battle her way to the finish
     Sperrer and Floene climb up the standings
     De Villiers and Saby present Volkswagen with one-two
     Peterhansel and Roma lose time into Bamako
     African triumph
     De Villiers fastest at CP1
     Peterhansel and Roma lost
     Narrow and dusty tracks on the menu

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