Austrian Heinz Kinigadner took the seventh stage in the Paris-Dakar-Cairo Rally on Monday, January 17, following the elimination of the four previous days. Huge Russian airplanes were used to transport hundreds of vehicles and thousands of people across Niger when organizers became concerned about the possibility of terrorists striking in that African country. Today’s stage was in Libya, and didn’t have much of an effect on the overall results. Juan Roma still leads on a KTM, with last year’s winner Richard Sainct in second in a BMW. Sainct’s teammate Jimmy Lewis sits fifth; he was hauling keister in today’s stage, being clocked at over 115 mph at one point, but his foam tire insert disintegrated and ruined his progress. Lewis is now about one and a half hours off the leader’s pace, and the elimination of Niger leaves him relatively little time to make up the deficit. That said, Lewis’ 900cc twin-cylinder Beemer should shine in the rally’s fast latter stages, assuming he can keep his tire inserts from melting.
Tomorrow will feature a long, fast route with many special-test miles. Highlights will include a magnificent volcano and a lake.
7. Esteve Pujol