Racing News by Laurent Lazard



The first half of the marathon stage, between Derj and Oubari, at 563 kilometres the longest of the rally, saw victory go to Christian Lavieille aboard his Proto Dessoude and Cyril Despres astride his KTM. The overall leaders of this particularly hard special remain unchanged. In the cars Orlando Terranova leads Christian Lavieille and Guerlain Chicheit while Marc Coma advances Cyril Despres by 4 minutes. In the 450 class Luca Manca wins the day’s stage and takes the overall lead off Bruno Da Costa, while Olivier Pain losses more than one hour.

The first part of this marathon stage finishes this evening at Oubari with a bivouac ‘without assistance’. The vehicles are placed in parc ferme and only the competitors are allowed to repair their machines and full them with fuel. The special was tough, typically African and real ‘rally-raid’, mixing dune crossings and navigation, especially over the ergs of the last part of the day. The average speeds were relatively low while the gaps have increased substantially, especially on four wheels.

On the bikes Cyril Despres pulls back 4 minutes on Marc Coma, who finishing third today won’t have to open the piste tomorrow… Pal Anders Ullevaseter stayed close to the Frenchman, finishing second at 2’30. Lopez and Casteu were more than 10 minutes behind. It was a tough day for the bike riders with a number of crashes. Ludovic Boinnard, David Casteu’s team mate, hurt his leg and was evacuated by helicopter. The Pole Jakub Przygonski, 5th overall yesterday, went out with mechanical problems. In the 450 class Luca Manca takes the lead after having posted the fastest time of the day. The second half of this marthan stage sees the longest special of the rally being followed by the ‘sandiest’ and almost certainly the most scenic.

In the cars Christian Lavielle created the surprise of the day by finishing ahead of the BMWs on a terrain which apparently suited the Proto Dessoude down to the ground. Despite a puncture and getting stuck in the sand, the Frenchman won the special in the face of stiff competition. Pascal Thomasse, second today, also put in a fine performance at the wheel of his MD Buggy. The three BMWs of Terranova, Chicherit and Novitskiy followed, but the Russian was 44 minutes back with Jean-Louis Schlesser more than 56 minutes behind. At 18h30 only 12 cars had crossed the finishing line…

Among the day’s ‘victims’ – Nicolas Misslin, who managed to repair his broken gearbox and arrive in Oubari. Eric Vigouroux who lost considerable time, spending two hours at CP2 fixing an oil pipe and a broken alternator before finally making it to the finish. Over the tricky route the dunes, and more particularly the landings the other side, caused a number of surprises notably: Francois Lethier (2nd yesterday in T2), Francois Borsotto, Rodolphe Deveaux’s co-driver in his Mitsubishi MPR13 and Eric Leblanc, Joseph Rosso’s co-driver in his Nissan Pathfinder, all three of whom are suffering from back pain and being looked after by the rally’s medical team.

Notable performance from the Tunisian Ludovic Leloup, who driving alone in his Toyota, finished the special in 8th place!

Tomorrow, the second half of the marathon stage, 308 kilometres to reach the bivouac in Brack. A 90% sand special over which the navigators will have their work cut out finding the 6 lakes hidden away in a sea of yellow. Another tough day, over which competitors will have to nurse their machines safely towards their assistance crews.


4e étape : RAS EL OUED – DERJ (Libye)
Transfert : 2 km – Spéciale : 288 km – Liaison : 292 km -Total : 582 km

_« I rode 100 km in the dust of Munaglioli and I couldn’t overtake him, said Ludo at the finish line. At km 150, I had to stop to have a pee and after I was tired and not concentrated. Until the refueling I rode badly but after I felt better.
I’m quite happy because I didn’t made any navigation mistake but this special was really hard for the physic. »_

5e étape : DERJ (Libye) – OUBARI (Libye)
Liaison : 61 km – Spéciale : 563 km – Total : 624 km

_The participants were in the first part of the marathon stage when Ludo Boinnard crashed in the dunes. The bike felt down on his foot and the doctors at the bivouac diagnosted a probably hankle’s fracture.
Today he will be transported in a hotel in Sebba to wait the plane for

France where he will be completely checked.The second part of the marathon stage is cancelled because of the hard sand wind blowing on the top of the dunes._  


24/04/2009 | TUNISIAN RALLY : Meet the pilots !


Marc COMA – KTM – 1ST 
A nice first special. Tomorrow I think it will start to get a little tougher. We are only at the start of the race.

David CASTEU – KTM – 2nd
Nice to be back on a track, ‘cos since Dakar I haven’t raced at all. As always it takes a little time to get back into the road book, but everything went fine.

Luca MANCA – 1st 450 cc – 4th
A good first day on the piste. I am very happy because the bike worked perfectly. My goal on this rally is to win the 450 class and why not get on to the overall podium.

Not a great day. During the special a policeman sent me the wrong way and I lost a lot of time – something which doesn’t make me exactly happy.

Alessandro DE PETRI – KTM
What a pleasure to be back on an African piste. My old bones are arching a little, but apart from that I feel great.

I started off slowly but I finished fast. I still remember last year and know I had to be careful. The BMW is an excellent car and will be the car to beat this year. We aren’t in a team race. We are 3 individual drivers and we run our own race.

I am not sure if my goal today was to win the special. Last year it didn’t bring us luck as we had to retire the next day. Second isn’t such a bad place sometimes.

I am really delighted. I am getting used to the car and gaining in confidence. Apart from the deviation I am happy with my third place. I didn’t take any excessive risks, just a lot of pleasure.

The start of the special was very slippery and you had to be careful of the cactus, but overall these 60 kilometres were a pleasure. There was a little confusion at the diversion, but I think it was the same for everyone. We didn’t have any rain, but there were some big puddles.

Guerlain CHICHERIT – BMW X3 
The day didn’t go too well for us. The diversion caused us to stop twice and we lost a bit of time. Still, the rally has only just started and we have a lot of kilometres ahead of us.

»It wasn’t a special for us, too twisty and with too many changes of direction. It was difficult to get the right track. Even if the buggy lacks a little horsepower, she handled very well. No problem with the co-driver – he just got a smack!!

We had a problem with the trip and the notes that Alex called were completely out – either too late or too early… Later on, without a windscreen, we had to slow right down for the big puddles.

Pascal LARROQUE (Co-pilot of Pascal THOMASSE) – Buggy MD
A nice warm up even, if the diversion could have caused us problems. Without comparing it to Argentina, there were quite a few spectators out on the course which was a pleasure to see.




« Because of the heavy rain from these last few days, the rivers and dry beds were overflowing and made it impossible to cross, so the second special was cut down by the promoters to only 60 km. This was very very short but a great warm up day on dusty and tricky tracks. It was very easy to make mistakes because the navigation was quite hard. But I did well and did finish 11th, only 6 minutes from the overall winner, Marc Coma. »

23/04/2009 | RALLY OF TUNISIA :News feed of the stage 2

  • 12:15 pm : The first auto started > CHICHERIT Guerlain (n°302).
  • 13:18 pm : motorcycle n°11 try to repair.
  • 13:07 pm : 5 motorcycle are arrived.
  • 13:05 pm : Motorcycle n°2 (DESPRES Cyril) is arrived.
  • 12:48 pm : n°109 (SANNA COCCO Maurizio) did not started.
  • 12:41 pm : mechanical breakdown for the n°11 (HIZEM Samir)
  • 12:41 pm : The last motorcycle started > DABBAH FERJAMI Moncef (n°12).
  • 12:15 pm : The first motorcycle started > Cyril DESPRES (n°2).
  • First departure Moto : 12:15 pm / First departure Auto : 13:15 pm

Route of the stage

Rally in the forest
After an early road connection morning link to « The Kef », the rally starts in a forest. Narrow trails, lots of direction changes, in a mountain landscape, along the border. Then, the course becomes different, still technical but more speed. A special, which will make happy slide (between the trees) fans. Drivers good in navigation will enjoy the course. Eye pleasure guaranteed.



Résultat de la 1e étape
1. Despres (KTM) en 3’34”. 2. Viladoms (KTM) à 18”; 3. Pain (Yamaha – 1e 450) à 25”; 4. Przygonski (KTM) à 28”; 5. Coma à 35”; 6. Casteu à 39”; 7. Manca  à 44”; 7. Rodrigues (KTM) à 44”; 9. Da Costa à 47”; 10. Podlipny à 1’01”…


24/03/2009 | UAE DESERT CHALLENGE -2 stage


1. Guerlain Chicherit (F)/Tina Thörner (S) BMW X3 CC 4h
31m 43s
2. Yayha Al Helai (UAE)/Khalid Al Kendi (UAE) Nissan Patrol 5h
04m 25s
3. Ahmed Bin Soughat (UAE)/Wael Marjan (UAE) Nissan Patrol 5h
35m 44s
4. Abdullah Al-Herais (UAE)/Haleem Bin Zayed (UAE) Nissan Patrol 5h
46m 43s

1. Sean Gaugain (ZA) Honda CRF 450X 4h 24m 24s
2. Pal-Anders Ullesvalseter (N) KTM 690 R 4h 28m 53s
3. Jakub Przygonski (PL) KTM 690 R 4h 30m 29s
4. Marc Coma (E) KTM 690 R 4h 30m 36s
5. Cyril Despres (F) KTM 690 R 4h 32m 34s
6. Dave McBride (GB) Honda CRF 450 X 4h 36m 34s


1. Guerlain Chicherit (F)/Tina Thörner (S) BMW X3 CC 7h
06m 43s
2. Yayha Al Helai (UAE)/Khalid Al Kendi (UAE) Nissan Patrol 7h
57m 11s
3. Abdullah Al-Herais (UAE)/Haleem Bin Zayed (UAE) Nissan Patrol 8h
50m 37s
4. Ali Al Shawi (UAE)/Ahmed Malik (UAE) Nissan Patrol 9h 29m 06s

1. Marc Coma (E) KTM 690 R 7h 26m 12s
2. Cyril Despres (F) KTM 690 R 7h 27m 37s
3. Pal-Anders Ullesvalseter (N) KTM 690 R 7h 30m 29s
4. Sean Gaugain (ZA) Honda CRF 450X 7h 42m 42s
5. Dave McBride (GB) Honda CRF 450 X 7h 45m 42s
6. Jakub Przygonski (PL) KTM 690 R 7h 47m 40s

23/03/2009 | Nasser Al Atiyah ride Dakar 2010 with Volkswagen