Rally Dakar 2006: Team Galp Energia - Leg 13
Today saw the transition between Guinea and Senegal, with a mountain stage. Amazing but true : a maximum altitude of 1000m, with a few passes to get over. Just like the stage between Bamako and Labé, the routes followed were
narrow. The ever-present dust did not make overtaking easy. Over this terrain, Carlos Sousa set the 8th fastest time, and kept his seventh place overall.
After yesterday's marathon stage between Bamako (Mali) and Labé (Guinea), the teams still in the race were extremely happy to see their assistance teams this evening, in Tambacounda, Sénégal. Two exhausting days, and the feeling that Dakar is now very close.
Carlos Sousa and Jean Marie Lurquin, despite yesterday's incident, managed to stay on the right path today and are still 7th overall.
« During yesterday's stage, between Bamako and Labé, we hit a large, hidden obstacle in a zone of fech-fech. The steering was badly hit, the wheel was bent, and therefore I had to drive carefully. I was a bit worried when we arrived in Labé, as there was no assistance. But when the T4 race service truck arrived, the mechanics on board fixed everything.
Today, we started off in eleventh position, and we had to overtake a number of competitors in the dust, which was not easy. We were a bit blocked by a blue buggy [Schlesser, Ed.], which we finally overtook thanks to a rocky area. Then Vigouroux kindly let us through. Finally, we had to get past Miller, who had a puncture, which made things easier.
From then on, we were out of the dust and it was a lot easier. Unfortunately, after CP1, the car's handling got a bit worse. We even thought we might have a puncture. Actually, it was the rear suspension which has overheated, and we slowed down slightly near to the end.
Seventh overall this evening, is very good. Especially for a driver like me, who had not driven for a year !»
Tomorrow will see the penultimate stage of this 28th Dakar. On the Senegalese tracks, the co-drivers will be back in business. The special stage will be longer than last year's, and plenty of changes of direction will not make things easier. Plenty of time to be lost… or gained.
Press Release Team Galpia Energia