It has been an excruciating battle for any competitor in 2006 Euromilhões Lisbon to Dakar Rally to get as far as the Rest Day at Nouakchott. Almost one hundred motorcycle competitors have already been forced to retire from the Rally from either a mechanical failure or injury, and the 129 remaining competitors still have a long way to go.
For tomorrow's 874 km ninth stage from Nouakchott to Kiffa, competitors will face the longest special stage - 599 km - of the entire Rally. They will confront stretches of dense sand dunes of over 20 kilometres in length and there will be one at the start and another the end of the route. Between the two sandy stretches, competitors will race over fast rocky tracks.
Race to Dakar competitors Simon Pavey (107th place) and Matt Hall (104th) have rested in Nouakchott today in preparation for the long stage. Fellow team-mate Charley Boorman is injured, but is continuing with the Rally to assist with production of the Race to Dakar project.
There are still 4,205 kms to be covered until the end of the 2006 Euromilhões Lisbon to Dakar Rally on 15 January 2006. Titleholder Cyril Despres suffered from injury three days ago and dislocated his collarbone and the Frenchman is an uncertain finisher for this year's event. Spaniard Marc Coma leads the Rally, followed by fellow Spanish rider Isidre Esteve Pujol, and Chilean rider Carlo De Gavardo is third.
For more information about the Race to Dakar team, enthusiasts can visit www.racetodakar.com.
Highlights of the 2006 Euromilhões Lisbon to Dakar Rally (31 December 2005 to 15 January 2006) can be seen on Eurosport.