El Chott 2013: Ksar Ghilane – Douz

ElChott2013 Stage 6 Starting Line

We were back in the rally at the start of Stage 6, but we couldn’t drive very fast to avoid further damage to our broken axle shaft. Without the front right wheel drive, we also had to avoid the high dune sections, taking the associated penalities. The piste was very fast, but it was covered with sand in many places, and the small hard dunes were quite effective “speed bumps.” We crossed a rather sparse dune field as the route led us farther south to Bir Aouine. From there, the road book indicated a short but difficult dune crossing, which we couldn’t attempt with our broken axle shaft, so we went around it, navigating by cap to pick up the road book on the other side.

Photo by Andreas Wulf and Anja Bork

Photo by Andreas Wulf and Anja Bork

Despite all the handicaps, we drove well, but we had to take the CP Exit at Ksar Ghilane because the road book led to Douz by way of the dunes. We took the road instead. All of this was too much for our mechanic, who couldn’t take any more and decided to leave the rally when we arrived in Douz, so from there on, it was just the two of us.

The following day, the rally had scheduled a “rest day” in Douz. We had a break in driving, but it would be a mistake to think we actually got much rest. In fact, we spent the better part of the day doing maintenance and making some minor repairs after 5 days of hard driving in the sands of Tunisia. It wasn’t difficult, but since our mechanic had left and there were just two of us to do everything, it took somewhat longer than it would have for a trained professional.

We made an overall inspection, paying careful attention to the broken axle shaft to make sure it wasn’t leaking anywhere. We checked the oil in the gearbox, transfer case and axles, cleaned out the air filters and cleaned and greased all the working parts. We also repaired the front grill, which had been broken in the dunes, to protect the radiator from damage by a flying stone for example.

Photo by Andreas Wulf and Anja Bork

Photo by Andreas Wulf and Anja Bork

We were lucky we didn’t have anything more serious to deal with, and at the end of the day, we made all the usual preparations for the next day’s stage: preparing the roadbook, filling up the Camelbaks with drinking water, checking all the navigation instruments and packing our “fast food” lunch boxes.

Read the next post in the series or go back to the start.

One Response to El Chott 2013: Ksar Ghilane – Douz

  1. Pingback: El Chott 2013: Ksar Ghilane Stages 3-5 | Erg Machine

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