Sainct Leads Dakar Rally

Brent Avis
by Brent Avis
Yesterday BMW's Roma posted the equal fastest time on a circuit that should have favored the KTMs..

First to arrive at the finish line, Cyril Despres couldn't hide his disappointment at being severely handicapped by a rear brake hose that was destroyed 2 kms into the stage. The next BMW in was Jimmy Lewis. The fact that he was overtaken by Richard Sainct during the special suggested that the KTM rider had put in a good time. But much worse than all of this was the news that British BMW rider John Deacon had broken down on the special and was struggling to make repairs.

In the end Sainct won the special by 56 seconds, which given its short 35 km length, suggests that the French 'title holder' is in fine form. He did have the good grace to admit that he hadn't exactly hung about - but then so did most of his competitors. Main rival Roma finished second, closely followed by Tianen and Sala, with American 'rookie' Campbell putting in an impressive performance on his Honda XR650 to post the 5th fastest time. And then, way, way behind the leaders, John Deacon limped in second to last, having finally managed to get his BMW going again.

Understandably not very talkative on the finish line, the UK pilot nevertheless stopped long enough to explain that, "Two wires under thepetrol tank broke just after the start of the special and it took me 30 minutes to discover and fix the problem". It is oftensaid that part of the charm of the rally is its unpredictable nature.

In the cars Jean-Louis Schlesser won slightly ahead of Hiro Masuoka and at the same time took the overall lead.

Thanks to for the update from the desert.

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