All’s quiet on the Dakar front

| January 21, 2000

In what was for all intents and purposes the penultimate day of the Paris-Dakar-Cairo Rally today (the final day on Sunday the 23rd is primarily a formality), Spaniard Esteve Pujol pulled down the stage win, but Richard Sainct maintained his overall lead of 45 minutes. BMWs fill the top four places, with Oscar Gallardo in second, Jimmy Lewis third and Jean Brucy fourth.

The 15th stage led through Egyptian sand dunes, where KTM’s Pujol capitalized on some gentlemanly conduct by Alfie Cox, who was going like a missle and looked to win the day. When Cox came upon KTM’s Jurgen Mayer – stopped with a broken chain – he felt compelled to stop and lend assistance, thereby blowing his own chances at the day’s victory.

“His chain had broken and was wrapped around the swinging arm, so I stopped to help him,” explained Cox matter-of-factly. “I couldn’t leave him – he’s a mate.”

Tomorrow’s 448-mile stage finishes at Lake Wadi Rayan, in a bivouac that is said to be the most beautiful of the rally. Sunday’s final jaunt is just 90 miles in length, with a special test of only six miles. The finish is in front of the Great Pyramids. French musician Jean-Michel Jarre will perform a concert there, and the prize ceremony will take place in front of the Sphinx.

By Larry Lawrence