The other aspect of Dakar

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The first Dakar rally in South America ran over two weeks and now it has finished. We take a look back at the rally raid classic.

1. Shortened stages. It was the running gag at the Dakar. Every morning a stage change and usually stage shortening was announced. The reasons ranged from "too little sand on the course" through "too much rain" to archaeological excavations that must not be disturbed. All we are waiting for now is route changes because of "little green men".

2. One type of 'man' that still exists in the Dakar is the 'gentleman driver', one of whom is Belgian Eric Palante. Amid the dunes he discovered Annie Seel, who was stranded. A graceful lady in the middle of the desert, so naturally he drew off some fuel to allow her to continue. Foolishly he did not close his tank filler cap properly and lost all of his fuel. He had to ask for fuel from the driver of a small Honda, a Hungarian motorbike rider and the driver of an old truck, the latter of whom gave him half a litre in a used Coke bottle.