02-Communiqué

Heading for « The Mummy »…

The second leg took the competitors to the site of « The Mummy »… a mountain with angular forms, which has gained this name after the rather atypical scenery was used in the film of the same name.  Rather longer than that of the day before, the day’s special stage was generally quite fast, with some deep depressions in the plains and valleys.  René Metge had made a promise… « We have not removed all the stones from the Moroccan tracks, but we have removed as many rough passages as possible. »  The promise was kept, to the delight of the competitors.

Despite everything, the navigation was far from easy.  It was imperative, not to say mandatory, to follow the road book with great precision to keep heading in the right direction and stay on the right track.  And it must be said that there were a few u-turns…

 

First stage win for Jacky Loomans !

Over the 207 km timed stage, the Belgian driver Jacky Loomans set the best time, with an impressive pace.  Despite a puncture and a small navigational mistake, his Nissan Navara allowed him to claim the win. Jacky Loomans and Frits Drietsman, his navigator, therefore finished 2009 in fine style… Second in today’s stage, Jérôme Pelichet and Eugénie Decré had a busy day in their Wildcat, but finished just over five minutes behind the ‘Flying Belgian’.  In the overall classification, the Franco-Swiss pair have taken the lead, but Loomans is close behind… Third today, the everlasting Jean-Louis Schlesser, with his Buggy, was a model team-mate, coming to the aide of François Lethier, who was suffering from a few brake problems.  Wisely, the two blue Buggies showed great team spirit.  In a waiting position, third overall, the ‘Desert Fox’ is only a few seconds behind Loomans. Congratulations to Vincent Demonceaux, 5th today and 5th overall.  As for Edmond Pelichet, he was back on the air today, with his radio functioning again… closely followed by a very consistent Miroslav Kubicek.  As far as the Egyptian drivers are concerned, « Mido » is more and more satisfied with the behaviour of his Desert Warrior, while as for Karim El Zanaty, his first rally outside his homeland appears to be delighting him. Gilles Florin and Hervé Cotel are in a good position, watching and waiting without gambling too much on the Moroccan tracks. Rudy Goeminne, with his Audi Buggy, appears to be getting the better of his problems, setting the 10th fastest time today.  Juan Aibar, 7th overall, suffered today, but the Spanish duo has not stopped smiling. Jean-Jacques Jousseau is continuing his apprenticeship, as is his navigator, Frédérick Fourdraine ! Stéphane Corso, who rolled his vehicle yesterday in the first stage (without serious damage) has not lost his motivation and took to the track this morning with a slightly rumpled Pajero.  As for the Asloun family (father and daughter), a number of problems yesterday and some electronic issues slightly spoiled their start, but it would take more than that to discourage the driver of the Ch’ti Kangoo, and his objective remains the Rose Lake !

In the Truck category, Mr Miklos Kovacs took control, determined not to let Elisabete Jacinto disappear into the distance.  The Hungarian driver set the fastest time, and has a 47 second lead in the overall classification in front of the Portuguese driver.

On two wheels, Giovanni Stefani got the better of his two compatriots today, but in the overall classification, it is Alberto Dottori who is in the lead…

Read more: Release #3