SMARA-Western Sahara - Brazilians Klever Kolberg and Rouldan Lourival finished the day’s stage in 18th position and were the fastest of the Mitsubishi Ralliart teams, but team mates Dominique Housieaux and Loic Fagot were classified 19th on the stage into Smara and will lead the Ralliart teams into Mauritania on Wednesday. They lead their team mates by 1m 24s.
Brazilians Klever Kolberg and Rouldan Lourival finished the day’s stage in 18th position and were the fastest of the Mitsubishi Ralliart teams, but team mates Dominique Housieaux and Loic Fagot were classified 19th on the stage into Smara and will lead the Ralliart teams into Mauritania on Wednesday. They lead their team mates by 1m 24s.
Krzysztof Holowczyc and Belgian co-driver Jean-Marc Fortin began today’s stage in 19th position in their Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero, although the former European rally champion felt that his car needed a sixth gear to give it higher gearing for overtaking. The Pole was delayed with mechanical problems near the end of the stage.
"I came from the WRC and am obviouisly used to a powerful rally car," said the Pole. "A six-speed gearbox would be nice. Maybe the team can fly one into Atar. I am quite happy with everything at this stage. It is so different to the WRC. Speeds are slower and you have plenty of time to turn into corners. Today’s stage was the longest of my life. It was incredible when you compare it say to a 60 kms special on Rally GB!"
Chinese driver Guan Yuang Men enjoyed his run through today’s stage, despite being held up by a train for six minutes on the special stage into Agadir.
"We met a train in the stage," said Men. "Yes it was incredible. Maybe the train only passes this way once a year, but it came straight in front of us and we had to stop. After that it was narrow and rocky and we caught some cars but were not able to pass them in the dust. The delay cost us maybe 20 places in the stage. Today was a case of taking no risks and making sure we gained a little time back. I prefer the gravel stages to driving in the dunes. It is so different."
Thailand’s Siriwattanakun Pornsawan lost over 10 minutes in the stage into Agadir when he was forced to stop in the dust of a slower competitor. But the Mitsubishi Truck Evolution driver’s luck turned even worse when he complained of severe back pain at the team’s hotel in Agadir on Monday evening and was forced to withdraw from the event with a possible slipped disc.
Dutchman Toni van Deijne was enjoying his first experience of the Dakar in a Ralliart Pajero/Montero. "The team has made some good work with the car," said Van Deijne. "It is fine so far. I plan to drive carefully until the rest day in Atar and then maybe we can push a little and move up the leaderboard."
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