Dakar Rally : Team Gauloises - Leg 3
After two European special stages, 504 of the 510 crews who started the Dakar rally in Lisbon arrived in Nador in Morocco. Raphael Sperrer and co-driver Sylvain Poncet passed the first check point in 31st position at the wheel of the
Buggy number 369.
"Everything was working well and we had a good pace sliding between the sharp stones," said Sperrer. "Then about 40 Kilometers before the end of the special the car fell suddenly into a hole on the side of the road. There was no warning that something could happen. The track was tough: there were sharp stones everywhere and so much dust that the visibility was very poor. Then all of a sudden all I knew is that our buggy was stuck in a ditch. At least we were not hurt."
Stepping out of the car, Sperrer and Poncet realised that there was damage the rear suspension and awaited assistance.
Sperrer added, "What a disappointing day. We had a short night on the boat before setting off in Africa. We knew it would be really difficult with special sections needing really good driving to navigate and to negotiate, especially towards the end of the stage. But I hope that with the help of the mechanics we can keep our position in the rally.
I can't believe that we had such an excellent result on the first day of the rally in 14th position and again finished day two in 16th position and that our rally hit such bad luck so soon. The good news is that the truck had the spare part, and everyone is working as fast as they can overnight to fix the car.
Luckily it is only the rear suspension that suffered. We would be really deeply disappointed if we cannot make it in time to Er Rachidia, but hold out hope that we can get back on the road."