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The pressure's on Alphand
Rally Dakar 2006: Leg 13 - Before the start
Uphill we go for this 13th stage of the Dakar. Mountain stages also exist on the Dakar... The rally reaches its highest point: close to 1000m with hilly tracks on the second part of the course, and fords to be crossed. But before
that, the competitors will leave Guinea to enter Senegal heading to Tambacounda, going through the Niokolo-Koba Park on fast tracks with many trees on the sides. 387kms of timed special. Dust and narrow tracks will make overtaking very difficult.
The battle continues for the final overall victory. One might not win the event but could well lose it. That's what happened to Stéphane Peterhansel yesterday. Without doubt, Giniel De Villiers, 20 minutes adrift of the new race boss Luc Alphand, will to his best to worry the Frenchman.

0h20 : The 500 XT ready to go
Henno Van Bergeik is one of the attractions of the rally and a star among the privateers. The Dutchman left Lisbon on an old Yamaha 500 XT, and has since then been used to long nights working on his bike. But his dream of making it to Dakar is slowly coming true. His stay in Labé was slightly different from the previous bivouacs. « I've just finished the work that I was supposed to do. It's perfect. It's the first time that I'll be able to rest a little.

0h40 : 600 km on a metal wire
Despite the rumours on the bivouac that Luc Pagnon had quit the race, the Frenchman made it to the bivouac. The man from Marseille witnessed a very long day but he's still in the race. « I broke a suspension at kilometre 150 of the special. I then repaired it with a metal wire and I covered the remaining 600kms like that. Riding at 20km/h. It's just a question of will. » Once by his trunk six mates immediately came to help so that Luc could continue his Dakar.

1h00 : Work on the 300
It's a very busy night in the Mitsubishi team. While the cars of Nani Roma and Luc Alphand haven't suffered too much during the day, Stéphane Peterhansel's Pajero is seriously damaged. Dominique Serieys, team manager, supervises work. « There are really a lot of things to be done and we'll have to stay up until the first hours of morning. But it'll be ready, for sure… »

1h30 : Henrard quits
Stéphane Henrard, driver of a 2005 Volkswagen Race Touareg suffered his third withdrawal in a row on the Dakar. « We have an oil leek so we had to drive slowly all day and once we got to the bivouac, the engine broke. I'm really disgusted. »

1h45 : Nissen satisfied
In the Volkswagen team, Kris Nissen checks out the repairs on the vehicles of Miller (rear left wheel)) and Sainz (brakes), and talks of the 2006 edition with still three days to go. « We were very lucky today. Now we will try and out the pressure on Luc Alphand and we'll see what happens. Anyhow, this Dakar is a satisfaction, we have performed well. »

02h20 : What about Pescarolo ?
Henri Pescarolo, who crashed and had three tumbles during the special finally managed to repair and continue. But the Frenchman hadn't yet made it to the finish of the special.

02h45 : Still missing !
One truck, one quad and twelve cars were still on their way to Labé.
Press Release Amaury Sport Organisation

     Sperrer reach Labe in a rally best 13th position
     Volkswagen moves up to second with Giniel de Villiers
     Alphand and Despres win special
     From the Volkswagen bivouac
     Alphand wins stage and takes overall
     Ellen Lohr forced to retire in leg twelve
     Stephane Peterhansel loses the leadership
     Luc Alphand fastest at CP1
     Despres fastest at CP 1
     Back in Guinea

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