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A real performance for Christian Lavieille
Dakar Rally : Team Dessoude - Leg 3
This leg, the first to take place on African soil, bet w een Nador and Er Rachidia, was anything but a t ransit ional stage : it was difficult from a technical point of view, and quite rough. The start was magnificent, in amongst the pine
trees. But quite quickly, an uphill section showed that ther e were plenty of stones around, meaning numerous hazards and the possibility of punctures. This gave way to a rolling plateau, then a winding, rapid route, very pleasant to drive. The last fifty kilomet ers included plenty of ditches and holes, dangerous for the vehicles.

In these testing conditions, Christian Lavieille managed a real performance, setting the 13th fast est t ime. Race incidents for Yvan Muller saw him lose nine places this evening. In T2, Jean Pier re Strugo is now lying second, while Paul Belmondo maintained his 4t h position.

An update with André Dessoude…

«After three legs, the overall report is positive. In t he general classification, Christian Lavieille is in the best position, and is lying 12th this evening. This result corresponds to a race plan which suits me perfect ly. Christian knows how to remain cautious, and is applying, in T1, the philosophy he learned in T2. There have been no major incidents for the vehicle, and the crew is in a perfect position. There is no point in raising the pace at this point. You could say that Christian has become a rally raid specialist… »

« It was quite an incident-filled day for t he Muller/Metge team. Mark Miller hit them (when the Dessoude Proto was pulling to one side to let them pass), and then they had a puncture. They will certainly learn from this, and that will put things back in order. It is important to remain calm whatever happens, and to manage this sort of incident without undue haste. Miguel Barbosa was unlucky today. From the 5th kilometer of the timed sector, part his rear drive broke. It must have been a defective part; it was definitely not Miguel's fault.

« Madalena Antas, at the wheel of the Nissan Pathfinder T1, had a better stage today. After her disappointment during the first day, she has to regain confidence. At the moment, she is still a bit tense. As for the three T2 competitors, they are putting in a perfect race. Just one little comment : Jean Pierre Strugo must learn to drive with the windows closed !!!! »

Comments from the drivers…

Christian Lavieille - Nissan Pick-Up 03 : «Fun driving except for the last 50 kilometres … a real hell of ditches and pot-holes. François and I are now well synchronized with the notes, and everything is going well. »

François Borsotto - Nissan Pick-Up 03 : «With Christian, no problems. I have total confidence in him. Today, the road-book was super, very precise with no time lags. »

Miguel Barbosa - Proto Dessoude 05 : « A bad Monday… On the same special stage, no rear drive after 5 km and a broken Tripmaster … a real problem-filled day!»
Paul Belmondo - Nissan Pathfinder T2 : « We spent the first 120 kilometres in the dust and lost a lot of time. There was no room for errors on this rough route.»

Guy Leneveu - Nissan Pathfinder T2 :
« The notes were very close. Not an easy stage for the crews; it was important to follow closely… But the scenery was magnificent (I managed to catch a few glimpses). »

Jean Pierre Strugo - Nissan Pathfinder T2 : « We gained eight places overall in one day, and one place in the T2 category. It was very dusty, so we drove at a pace which the visibility allowed. Three legs without a problem… we couldn't ask for more !»

Carole Montillet - Nissan Pathfinder T2 : « I was rather stressed this morning when taking the wheel. It was difficult to juggle the speed and care… I made two or three mistakes and hit the front slightly. »

Mélanie Suchet - Nissan Pathfinder T2 : « The navigation was not easy today. There were plenty of hazards to warn against, and when Carole doesn't brake, I must admit I scream … a bit ! »

Madalena Antas - Nissan Pathfinder T1 : « At the moment, I lack confidence. I hope that it will get better day after day. Despite the dust, I did enjoy today's special a bit. Everything is going well with Patrick, and he is an excellent mechanic!»

Tomorrow, the competitors head for Ouarzazate. A 679-km leg, including 405 km of timed stage. A varied stage … characteristic of the 2007 Dakar.

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