- DAKAR 2015 . André Dessoude avec les chinois pour le Dakar
Team DESSOUDE just outside the Top 20!
The day before the well-deserved and traditional rest day, this evening saw the Silk Way Rally caravan reach the former capital city Kazakhstan, Almaty. In the DESSOUDE clan, this first part of the rally has been rich in both lessons and adventures. While the weather disrupted the first stages, and even today reduced the length of the timed stage, the three crews have gradually increased in performance as they have covered the kilometres. The experienced Chinese driver MA Miao, with LIAO Min in the DESSOUDE Proto, is currently the highest placed in the overall classification, currently lying 21st. Frédéric CHAVIGNY and his new co-driver, Igor MOTKO, in the DESSOUDE Atacama Proto, have climbed back up to the 38th position after a few misadventures in the third stage. Finally, after an exemplary start to the rally, the other Chinese crew of ZHONG Lei and WANG Zhaohui, in the second DESSOUDE Proto, dropped out of the 28th place in the overall classification after rolling in the fifth special stage. As authorised by the regulations, he will use a joker today, which, against a number of hours as a penalty, will allow him to get back in the race after the rest day, with China still in his sights…
Having left Moscow and the majestic Red Square, the competitors in this 2016 edition of the Silk Way Rally headed for Kazan. One average, it took 12 hours to reach the first bivouac, due to road works, traffic jams and more importantly, cold and wet weather. During this very long stage, a short, two-kilometre timed special, over soft sand along the Volga, right in the centre of Kazan, allowed everyone to warm up while waiting for the serious battle to begin.
Unfortunately, the very bad weather conditions in the region, with especially heavy rain, saw the route conditions on the next day’s stage deteriorate, creating many boggy areas. In order to avoid any safety problems, the organisers took the decision to cancel the second stage, and the caravan headed for Ufa, in Kazakhstan, via a liaison stage.
The arrival in Kazakhstan also saw the arrival of better weather, to everyone’s delight. The next day, the third timed stage took place in summery conditions, with temperatures around 28°C, and over terrain with a mix of long grass and forests, with many changes of heading. Over this sort of terrain, ZHONG Lei was the fastest, setting the 27th time, while his compatriot MA Miao, was only 77th after some problems. As for Frédéric CHAVIGNY, although the day started well, the driver of the #117 DESSOUDE Atacama Proto was caught out 30 km from the finish line, and fell into a hole. Stuck, but able to count on the solidarity of others to get out of this bad situation, Fred and Igor lost around thirty minutes and finished the stage in 80th position before reaching Kostanay.
For the fourth stage between Kostanay and Astana, the capital city of Kazakhstan, the tall grass was replaced by swamps and mud, while the sky covered over again, with a few showers. MA Miao put on a fine performance, setting the 6th fastest time in the stage, while ZHONG Lei and Frédéric CHAVIGNY were 38th and 55th respectively. Overall, ZHONG Lei was in the Top 30 (28th) while MA Miao and Fred CHAVIGNY continued to climb back up.
Still in Kazakhstan, the fifth stage between Astana and Balkhash gave Frédéric CHAVIGNY an opportunity to really enjoy driving his DESSOUDE Atacama Proto over ground which alternated between fast sections and very technical terrain. Under intense heat, this special stage over rocky tracks and through relatively dense vegetation was extremely tricky in terms of navigation. Despite just starting off in rally raid competition, Igor MOTKO was able to avoid the traps by showing seriousness and professionalism. The duo finished the day 38th in both the stage and the overall classification.
Determined to continue as they had the day before, MA Miao and LIAO Min’s progress was slowed by a puncture. Having only chosen to take two spare wheels with them, the pair lifted off in order to ensure they could reach the end of the stage without problems. Despite a relatively sober pace, the #121 DESSOUDE Proto reached the bivouac in 21st position, 24th overall.
The pair of ZHONG Lei - WANG Zhaohui were less lucky, having been caught out and made a mistake. After rolling a number of times, the DESSOUDE Proto was nevertheless able to reach the finish line. In order to put the car back to rights and continue the rally, the team decided to use their joker and miss the 6th stage in order to rejoin the race after the rest day. This specific rule allows the maximum number of competitors to remain in the race, despite time penalties, and to continue the adventure towards Beijing.
The sixth stage, just before the rest day, took the competitors to Almaty, the former capital city of Kazakhstan. The weather was playing up again, with the timed stage reduced to 110 km over sandy tracks. On good form, MA Miao set the 14th fastest time of the day, climbing up to 21st in the overall classification, just outside the Top 20. A strategic position for the Chinese driver, who will enter the second part of the rally on home ground, from Friday. Frédéric CHAVIGNY opted to manage the situation, setting the 48th time today, and 36th overall.
The first part of this Silk Way has bene hard on men and machine alike, so the rest day will be well deserved. But from Friday, the survivors will head for China and some legendary locations such as the Gobi Desert. There will be new landscapes, new problems to face, and the first dunes. The Chinese drivers could shine on home ground. No matter what happens, MA Miao, an experienced driver with one of the best Chinese co-drivers as his navigator, hopes to do well over terrain he handles well, behind the wheel of a very competitive DESSOUDE Proto. Fred CHAVIGNY will discover some new tracks and new scenery as his dream continues. The first Chinese bivouac will be in Bortala, after a mountainous special stage… the rally is only just getting under way!
Between Moscow and Beijing, Team DESSOUDE is back on the Silk Way...
After a gap of two years, this classic rally raid, which has been the stuff of dreams for many a competitor, is back on the international calendar. Since 2013, they have all been looking forward to heading back over the Russian steppes, and then to follow in the footsteps of Marco Polo. With the event starting from Moscow and finishing in Beijing, the competitors will have to cover over 10,000 km at a good pace in order to reach their goal. Team DESSOUDE will obviously be taking part, with three cars entered in the 2016 edition of this new formula ‘Silk Way’. Frédéric CHAVIGNY, a regular of the Saint-Lô based team for a number of years, and the team’s local driver, will be back in the cockpit of his Dessoude Atacama Proto along with a brand-new co-driver, Igor MOTKO. Team DESSOUDE will also provide technical assistance for the two Chinese crews of the Eastern Racing Team, which is entering two Dessoude Pathfinder Protos driven by MIAO MA/ MIN LIAO in the #121 and by LEI ZHONG/ZHAOHUI WANG in the #186. The event gets underway today from the Red Square in Moscow!
Always ready to pick up a new challenge, Team DESSOUDE is pleased to be back in the Rally Raid caravan. Even if the weather is not ideal in Russia at the moment, with rain and temperatures not above 15°C, the atmosphere is feverish, with all the teams preparing for two intense weeks.
For this return to top-level competition, André DESSOUDE’s team is made up of around thirty people, divided between the three race cars, two assistance trucks and three assistance vehicles.
For the « Boss », the main aim is to get all their cars to Beijing. « This race has not taken place during the last two years, and I have to admit that we missed it. Ideally placed in the calendar, this year it allows us to relive the epic journeys we made in the past by proposing a route to Beijing starting from Moscow. A long and beautiful journey full of potential problems. It is a true marathon, which will test all the crews and vehicles. Endurance, the real essence of rally raid, takes its full meaning in such an event. Our aim will be to get the three cars to the finish line in China. The two Chinese crews are extremely motivated. It will be a long race, and finishing every day’s stage will already be a victory. »
As far as Fred CHAVIGNY is concerned, he is fully motivated, and taking part in this 2016 edition of the Silk Way Rally is rather like making a childhood dream come true.
Born in France in the Eure et Loire region, living in Russia and in the Ukraine since 1992, Frédéric is a true sportsman who discovered rally raids in 2009 with Team DESSOUDE. His taste for endurance initially took him to marathon running, completing 20 events, and then the ultra-marathon (100km), with a dozen races to his credit.
It is therefore not surprising that when he became interested in motorsport, rally raid quickly became his favourite form of the sport.
Fred has taken part in six Dakar events in South America, and no fewer than five Silk Way rally raids, organised at the time in Russia, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan. This year will be his sixth participation, but the cherry on the cake is that it will take him to new grounds and most specifically to China, crossing such redoubtable and legendary landscapes as the Gobi Desert in Mongolia.
To reach the Grail, the Forbidden City in Beijing on July 24th, Fred will be able to count on his ATACAMA Proto with a 6.2 l Chevrolet engine. A real beast that he will need to tame in order to get through all the obstacles on his way. On this rally, Fred’s navigator will be a newcomer to rally raids, Igor MOTKO from the Ukraine. He may be a rookie, but he is extra motivated and determined to reach the Chinese capital city.
As for the two Chinese crews on the Dessoude Pathfinder Protos, they are also fully motivated. For them, it is the first part of the route that will be new, as once they cross into China they will be more familiar with the terrain. Regular competitors in rallies in China, or in the Dakar in South America, these two crews are very experienced and should be watched closely, most particularly the line-up of MIAO MA/ MIN LIAO.
The first two stages will take the competitors from Moscow to Ufa via Kazan. Long liaison sections are on the programme, to take them out of the big urban areas, with two timed sectors with a total distance of around 140 km as a warm-up. From Monday July 11th, the event will go up a notch, heading for Kostanay with a 200 km stage. The rally will get steadily more difficult, but it already looks as if some stages will need real bravery...
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