The journey from Ayoun El Altrous to Tidjikia has been very good to Larry Roeseler and Paul Krause. The American Red Bull KTM riders have both moved up in overall ranking. Roeseler placed eleventh in Stage 14 to be moved up to thirteenth place overall, while Krause finished the stage in twenty-second place and in now sitting comfortably in eighteenth place.
The KTM press site calculated that the American team is in fourth place (overall) with 410 points. The first place team of Team Gauloises KTM France is leading with 91 points, while Team Repsol KTM Spain is in second with 109 points, and in 3rd place is Team Gauloises KTM International with 161.
The field has shrunk some, 72 bikes, 65 cars and 40 trucks started the 651 km Stage 15 from Tidjikja to Nouakchott. The Dakar website’s description of the conditions:
It’ll be the last real tough one of this 2004 edition -a special that could decide who will win between the favorites. The competitors will have over 590kms of special, including Erg crossings and 240kms of camel grass, to put the pressure one last time on the bikers, drivers and their machines. After this tough passage, they will be delighted to find 200kms of fast tracks all the way to Nouakchott.
Nouakchott, capital of Mauritania, was founded in 1958 on the ancient site of an army ground. In 1999, the city had 800 000 inhabitants. In 1966, a wharf and a deep-sea harbor were built with the help of China. One cannot expect to see the typical aspects of a traditional past. But it is a pleasant and friendly town.