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Friday 13th unlucky for Sperrer and Floene
Dakar : Team Gauloises Sperrer - Leg 13
Two days to go for the Gauloises Team Raphael Sperrer but the 13th stage of the rally on Friday 13th almost turn into a complete nightmare for Sperrer and Floene and put a stop to the dream of the two Dakar rookies.
The team's
great driving over the past few days was undone on Friday as their car stopped, just 70km from the end of the stage. After fighting to revive their Buggy the Dakar rookies arrived at the end of the stage in 69th and last position.
Ola Floene: "Yesterday's problems were unexpected. It took over thirteen hours to finish the stage and we dropped back down to 41st in the classification. Our overall time is now 91 hours 01 minute and 41 seconds.

It was a tough stage with many turns, like a trial sometimes in first gear among the rocks. After this very technical drive from the start at Labe, we were about 10 kilometres from the control point and 70 kilometres from the arrival in Tambacounda's bivouac when the car stopped. Neither Raphael nor me we believe in superstition or black cats, nor lucky rabbit's feet nor black magic and neither of us have ever believed in Friday 13th being unlucky, but after today I might change my mind.”
“Shortly after the start of yesterday's driving our power-steering failed which made the car a lot heavier to handle, but Raphael was not disturbed and fit enough to deal with it. He just pushed on. Before the second checkpoint we'd passed another two competitors and we were in eleventh when it all happened. There was a huge bang from the engine and car ground to a halt.

We were stuck on the side of the road with no power. We were both so disappointed to be stopped so close to Dakar Two more days to go - We just couldn't believe it might be over so close to the end, but we did not just give up. To be honest, it is a shame. The caravan of participants who have managed to reach this point of the race feel closer to "home”. The assistance truck tried to repair our Buggy. At the service area the assistance team has tried to rebuild the engine overnight. The damage on the cylinders was too serious. We have not known until the last moment this morning that we could not make it through the last stage before Dakar's arrival.

At least yesterday we came in 69th and last position But I was relieved that we made it. The goal was just to make it to Dakar as best we can. Now I am immensely disappointed because I see that it will not even be possible only 744 kms before the finish of this 2006 Lisbon Dakar Rally.

Yesterday was a been a complicated day and a real test of our nerves.To realize todaywe have to give up our dream so close to the arrival stage is even worse. In this race, you never know what the next moment can be. It is such a difficult race. And to know that we went through all that for nothing is really disappointing. I could cry. At least, I can say I have lived through an incredible experience and I will do my best to live through it again and implement all the tough lessons and learnings from this year.”
Press Release Team Gauloises Sperrer

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