Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Dakar Update

Giniel De Villiers has given the Nissan Rally Raid team a much-needed boost by winning Wednesday's 586km stage from Kiffa to Bamako in Mali. The South African completed the stage in 7h 20m 58s to beat the Mitsubishi's of Stephane Peterhansel and The thirteenth day of the 2005 Dakar began with a prayer this morning as competitors, mechanics and officials alike got down on one knee to pay tribute to the legendary Fabrizio Meoni who left us yesterday.
The KTM teams, and the Gauloises KTM team in particular, were expected to bring their Dakar to a premature end following Meoni's death, but during a long meeting yesterday evening, the riders instead decided to skip today's stage before restarting the Dakar in Bamako as a mark of respect to the Italian - It is what he would have wanted.
Meanwhile, the cars and trucks went ahead with today's 586km stage to Bamako and it is fitting that the victory went to South Africa's Giniel De Villiers - his first of the 2005 Dakar - bringing a much-needed boost to the Nissan Rally Raid Team after what has been a terrible event for them. De Villiers completed the stage in a time of 7 hours, 20 minutes and 58 seconds to beat overall leader and defending champion Stephane Peterhansel (Mitsubishi) into second by 3min 1sec, extending the Frenchman's overall lead to 23min 16secs over team-mate Luc Alphand who was third on the stage.
The cars and trucks will be placed in parc ferme upon arrival in Bamako in what is the first part of this second marathon stage. The competitors, including the bikes, are unable to make any mechanical modifications to the vehicles before the start of tomorrow's 370km stage to Kayes.
The cars and trucks will be placed in parc ferme upon arrival in Bamako in what is the first part of this second marathon stage. The competitors, including the bikes, are unable to make any mechanical modifications to the vehicles before the start of tomorrow's 370km stage to Kayes.

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