Stage 7 belongs to South Africa’s Vicus van Deventer on the DHL DS650 BAJA Bombardier quad. The Lichtenburg dairy farmer managed to outrace the field and took the honours in the Quad category. As so many times in the past, he watched his prey during the first few days and grabbed the first real endurance stage to attack. -

- Van Deventer now moves up into second place overall after completing stage 7 of the 2003 Telefonica Dakar race over 8550km. With 11 stages remaining, Vicus will definitely go all out to win the race for the third time in four attempts. -

- Van Deventer is considered a natural with amazing skill and an exceptionally tough character with the ability to endure immense fatigue and yet continue as if he was fresh and completely relaxed. -

- “The Bombardier performs best of all in the marathon dunes and we are now in the toughest conditions. I had a nice day,” said Van Deventer at the finish. This again where the riding height, and the very balanced suspension of the DS650 Baja Bombardier gives the rider that extra edge. -

- At first, the route was fast over a varied terrain. From about the 300km mark, the fraternity reached the Awbari Erg, where massive dunes with beautiful shapes followed for the next 50km. Some dunes can tower as high as 100m. The trail continued through some magnificent countryside of canyons and great sandy stretches, with all the possible difficulties that this rally can possibly offer. -

- With the dunes behind them, the crews powered through spectacular canyons over long stretches of sand before the route gave way to vegetation towards the end of the stage. The old city of Ghat is found on a hillside, however, like many other places in the Libyan Sahara, there are very few inhabitants. Many of the old settlements have crumbled away, but some, like Ghat, are being restored in the hope of attracting tourists. It is the gateway to the Akakus Desert and awash with canyons, huge rock arches, slender plinths and caves decorated with rock painting dating from 5000 B.C.; the whole area is conserved as a national park. -

- Tonight will not be any different to any other for Vicus, because he has no assistance on the route other than favours by the Nissan technicians when they are not busy with their own vehicles. -

- Tomorrow, the competitors will compete in their third stage in Libya, with a total of 727km to cover, including a 497km special stage of the beautiful North African countryside, with lots of dune crossings to entertain. -