Elsewhere in Racing
Updates from the Rest of the Racing World

By Mark Alan Jones and David Wright, Australia
Atlas F1 Magazine Writers

Advice: The points tables for most series covered by Elsewhere In Racing are available here. Individual series are linked to their corresponding points table after each report.

  Rally Raid

The Dunes Beckon

Tonight after the completion of the final Moroccan Stage, the Dakar Rally makes a brief visit to the Western Sahara for the overnight bivouac before resuming in Mauritania with the first of the marathon stages where the rally is won and lost.

Dakar leader Colin McRae in his NissanThus far, Mitsubishi have dropped the ball, with only team new boy Luc Alphand still near the pointy end of the field, in a handy third position, to be just seven minutes behind the rally leaders.

And the leaders? Thus far Nissan have been making amends for recent Dakar efforts, as Colin McRae holds a six minute lead over teammate Giniel de Villiers as the Nissans came into their own on the prelude stage prior to attacking the dunes. The early rally form of Mitsubishi, and in particular Volkswagen, was blown away as McRae came from three minutes down on the previous leader. Only two cars are within a minute of the flying Nissans, the VW Touareg of Jutta Kleinschmidt and the BMW X5 of Nasser Al Attiyah. They rose respectively to fourth and sixth overall on the back of this performance.

In fifth position is Bruno Saby in the second of the Touaregs, with the team's other two cars sitting in seventh and eighth, American NASCAR racer Robby Gordon leading former WRC legend Juha Kankkunen.

Gordon has been the big news competitor of the event, winning two of the four competitive stages held thus far, the first ever won by an American competitor, in the turbo diesel Touareg. Whilst best known for his exploits in NASCAR and Champ Car racing, Gordon has been a multiple winner of the Baja 1000 in recent years and was a stadium off-road champ prior to starting his career on tar.

The top ten is completed by the two semi-factory, older model Nissans of Gregoire de Mevius and Kenjiro Shinozuka.

The mighty Mitsubishi squad, looking for their fourth consecutive victory on the Dakar is already in dire trouble. Defending champion Stephane Peterhansel was delayed today by multiple punctures and sits in 14th almost 22 minutes behind McRae, Nani Roma is over half an hour behind McRae in 17th and Andrea Mayer's L200 Evo is 19th. Transmission dramas have ended the chances of dual champ Hiroshi Masuoka, the factory Pajero sits in 110th position, over three hours from the lead.

All the other major contenders remain in striking distance. Ari Vatanen (Nissan) is eleventh and Carlos Sousa (Nissan) is twelfth. Of the buggies Thierry Magnaldi's Honda is 13th, six minutes ahead of the V8 Ford of Jean-Louis Schlesser (15th). Stephane Henrard is 17th in the Volkswagen with Schlesser's teammate Josep Maria Servia 19th in the Ford V6.

The first American to win a stage of the Dakar, Robby Gordon in his VolkswagenIn the bikes, a debut Stage victory for Australian Andy Caldecott has put him just over forty seconds behind two wheel leader Marc Coma on the factory KTM 660. Cyril Despres sits two minutes back in third, who in turn is four minutes clear of Alfie Cox, who injured his shoulder ligaments in a fall on the first stage near Barcelona. Isidre Esteve Pujol and Fabrizio Meoni are next on factory supported KTMs while David Fretigne on the two wheel drive Yamaha is in damage limitation mode now as the stages move towards the strengths of the more powerful KTMs. Fretigne won the first two stages of the rally in Spain, but Stage Three was cancelled due to fog. A stage victory for the moment eludes the factory KTM squad, but time is on their side.

Vladimir Tchaguine is back in familiar territory in command of the Truck classification. The defending champion was looking at second position in the Kamaz late in Stage 4 until a crash took out runaway stage leader Gerard de Rooy in the DAF. De Rooy lost three hours, his Dakar over at practically the first hurdle. Kamaz now sit first, second and fifth with Firdaus Kabirov backing up his team leader six minutes behind. Ilgizar Mardeev sits fifth behind the two Tatras of Andre de Azavedo and Karel Loprais. Jon de Rooy is next in the second of the Dutch family's DAFs ahead of the similar vehicle of Stage 1 & 2 victor Hans Bekx. The Ivecos of Miki Biasion and Markku Alen sit eleventh and twelfth, just under an hour behind.

The next week will decide the rally, as today the rally crosses the border from the Western Sahara into Mauritania. These stages and the stages in Mali and beyond will be decisive as the stage distances scroll upwards into the hundreds of kilometres as the rally disappears from view, except via helicopter.

Dakar Rally, After Stage 4 of 14, Smara, Western Sahara:


Pos  Driver                                    Car
 1.  Colin McRae/Tina Thorner                  Nissan Pickup
 2.  Giniel de Villiers/Jean-Marie Lurquin     Nissan Pickup
 3.  Luc Alphand/Gilles Picard                 Mitsubishi Pajero Evo III
 4.  Jutta Kleinschmidt/Fabrizia Pons          Volkswagen Touareg
 5.  Bruno Saby/Michel Perin                   Volkswagen Touareg
 6.  Nasser saleh Al Attiyah/Alain Guehennec   BMW X5
 7.  Robby Gordon/Dirk von Zitzewitz           Volkswagen Touareg
 8.  Juha Kankkunen/Juha Repo                  Volkswagen Touareg
 9.  Gregoire de Mevius/Jacky Dubois           Nissan Pickup
10.  Kenjiro Shinzoka/Pascal Maimon            Nissan Pickup


Pos  Driver                Bike
 1.  Marc Coma             KTM 660 Rallye
 2.  Andy Caldecott        KTM 660
 3.  Cyril Despres         KTM 660 Rallye
 4.  Alfie Cox             KTM 660 Rallye
 5.  Isidre Esteve Pujol   KTM 660R


Pos  Driver/Co-drivers                           Truck
 1.  Vladimir Tchaguine/S.Yakoubov/S.Savostine   Kamaz 4911
 2.  Firdaus Kabirov/A.Belyaev/A.Mokeev          Kamaz 4911
 3.  Andre de Azevedo/J.Martinec/L.Azevedo       Tatra T815
 4.  Karel Loprais/P.Gilar/J.Kalina              Tatra T815
 5.  Ilgizar Mardeev/S.Konopko/V.Golub           Kamaz 4911

McRae Out Of Dakar After Crash

Former world rally champion Colin McRae, who had been leading the Dakar Rally, crashed near the end of the sixth stage on Wednesday and is out of the race.

Rally organisers said the Scot appeared to be injured and had been taken by helicopter to the end of the stage in Zouerat in Mauritania.

McRae, driving a Nissan, had started the stage in Smara in southern Morocco with an overall lead of five minutes 28 seconds.

McRae report provided by Reuters

  Upcoming Events Calendar

  • January 21 - World Rally Championship, Round 1 of 16; Rallye Automobile Monte Carlo, Monaco

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Volume 11, Issue 1
January 5th 2005


Red Cars, Red Ink
by Thomas O'Keefe

2005 Technical Preview
by Craig Scarborough

The Fuel Stop Returns
by Reginald Kincaid

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Elsewhere in Racing
by David Wright & Mark Alan Jones

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