Dakar 2006: Team Gauloises Sperrer - Leg 14
It was the end of a dream as engine problems with the Buggy put a sudden end to Raphael Sperrer and Ola Floene's dream of finishing the Dakar rally, just one day before reaching their destination.
The 13th stage of the rally
on Friday 13th was certainly not lucky for the two Dakar rookies and their Dakar dream turned into a nightmare as their engine cut out suddenly just 70km from the end of the stage. The team's great driving over the past few days was undone in one short moment.
Sperrer and Floene eventually made it to the end of yesterday's stage, but had to wait for assistance after their engine gave up. They both watched anxiously as the rescue team worked to revive their Buggy all night, but the bad news came in the morning that the car's rally was done.
A tired and disappointed Sperrer said: "We were about 10 kilometres from the control point and 70 kilometres from the arrival in Tambacounda's bivouac when the car stopped. There was a huge bang from the engine and car ground to a halt. The assistance truck pulled us to the bivouac and tried all-night to repair our Buggy. At the service area, they were trying to rebuild the engine overnight. But the damage to the pistons was too severe and it was impossible to repair. We didn't know until the last moment this morning whether we'd make it or not. After yesterday's problems, our goal was just to make it to Dakar as best we can, and now that's not possible".
Raphael Sperrer added: "These 14 days in the rally have been an incredible adventure and the most difficult event I have ever experience. It's hard to describe in words how disappointed I am and we are that we cannot make it to the finish, when we got so close. I would like to thank the assistance team and of course my co-driver Ola for making it possible to come so far and to get as high up the classification as we did. Without their knowledge and talent I don't know where I would have been. The memories of all the sand and dust will be forever ingrained on my mind. Now I'm just really ready for a long shower and a normal bed for a good night's sleep.”
Ola Floene continued: "To find out this morning this morning that our dream is over so close to the end is really tough and the worst experience I have ever gone through. In this Dakar rally race, you never know what the next moment brings. It's such a difficult race and to know that we went through all that for nothing is really disappointing and heart-breaking. 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 next year and implement all the tough lessons from this year.”
Press Release Team Gauloises Sperrer