Off Road : OMAN DESERT EXPRESS QUEST -Still a few hours of suspense to go!

Off Road : OMAN DESERT EXPRESS QUEST -Still a few hours of suspense to go!

06.03.2006: Off Road : OMAN DESERT EXPRESS QUEST -Still a few hours of suspense to go!



Jean-Louis Dronne, the course designer and race director for this Oman Desert Express Quest 2006 proved to be a little over optimistic in his timing. He thought that the competitors would all finish over the two days of Friday 3rd and Saturday 4th March. So was it the pungent atmosphere of team mates or the prospect of the civilised delights at the hotel Majan Continental in Mascate, the end of the race – which caused such a flagrent acceleration over the last stretch of the course?

Either way, before 16h30 this Friday, all the crews had left the last dunes and checked in at the CP in Ibra, the last place where the mileage counters are recorded. Afterwards, the competitors had the choice to go to Mascate: that is to say a rather leisurely drive via a fantastic mountain route or a fast connection along the motoway. Some chose the shortest option, undoubtedly eager to take a shower! Others, more adventurous, valiantly took on the mountain at the end of the afternoon. They wouldn't regret it, first crossing a pass at more than 2,200m, before a sinuous descent along narrow routes cut into the side of the rock through vertiginous gorges. They discovered an astonishing region of the Sultanate of Oman, with villages perched high on the mountain side where, as in Asia, a form of terraced agriculture, irrigated by networks of small channels some of which are older than 2,000 years, is practised. And all less than 100km from Mascate with its broad, ultramodern boulevards that serve as a striking contrast to these valleys where the way of life seems to stand still.

Once at the hotel, all the competitors wore large and generous smiles as they contempleted the many pleasure and discoveries, spontaneously congratulating the organizers for the great week-long adventure they had been privileged to experience. No disappointment for the Belgians (N°15 Godefroy/Leroy - Grifnee/Henri) which finished with a car in tow with a burst radiator. Same story with the French from Dubai (N°3 Bailly/Marie -Gelineau/Fromajet), finishing with a car in a sorry state following their rollover the day before. Everyone was very happy with the hours spent struggling to carry out the shortest race. Now, all the data have been collected. The vehicle logs will be checked as well as famous Iritrack system "black boxes", which will make it possible to see whether all the crews really passed the compulsory 49 way-points. Still a few hours of nocturnal calculating remain for our stewrds before the computer spits out the official and final ranking of the race...



So the suspense continues and may the best team win!

For all the latest from the Oman Desert Express Quest 2006 go to http://www.desertexpress.fr/  3rd Mars, 2006 

Photographs: Alain Rossignol
-Agence Cathy BURG-

Permanent-URL: http://www.automobilsport.com/off-road-oman-desert-express-quest-jean-louis-dronne-hotel-majan-continental-mascate-sultanate-baily-marie-gelineau-fromajet-iritrack-black-boxes---9178.html

06.03.2006 / MaP

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