|Dakar Rally 2013: X-raid Mini Team and Peterhansel defend overall lead.|
It was one of the most exhausting days of the 2013 Dakar to date: after a short night, the Monster Energy X-raid Team drivers had to cope with a long day of motor racing. As the field had crossed the border from Peru to Chile, the clocks had to be set ahead by two hours, resulting in less sleep for everybody.
From 07:00 am, the competitors started into today’s 768-kilometre stage. About 10 hours later, French pairing Duo Stéphane Peterhansel / Jean-Paul Cottret in the green Mini All4 Racing crossed the finish line at the bivouac in Calama in 2nd position behind special stage winner Nasser Al Attiyah in his buggy.
At the beginning of the special stage, in the soft dunes of Iquique, Peterhansel had to cope with bad luck as he got stuck on one of the smaller dunes. But the car quickly was ready to go again and he lost just three minutes.
"The middle part of the special stage was technically demanding and fun to drive," revealed the 10-time Dakar winner. "In the closing stages, however, the track featured a lot of fech fech and hidden rocks. There, I chose a more conservative approach to avoid a collision."
Meanwhile, Orlando Terranova (ARG) and his co-driver Paulo Fiúza (POR) also were happy after having finished fourth, with their BMW X3CC. "A great day for us," beamed Fiúza. "We had no problems whatsoever although the stage was really tough."
The Russians Leonid Novitskiy and Konstantin Zhiltsov took their orange Mini to 5th position and consequently were in a good mood, too. "We didn’t make a single mistake," Zhiltsov said satisfied, "neither a navigation nor a driving mistake."
In the difficult conditions, Boris Garafulic (CHI) and his French navigator Gilles Picard also delivered in fine style. They set the 11th-fastest time, with their Mini.
The team’s unlucky pairing of the day: Nani Roma (ESP) and Michel Périn (FRA) who encountered another day to forget. "We crossed a dune crest and the only thing we saw were two big holes," Roma said later. "I tried to avoid them but got stuck, nevertheless. To be honest, I believed that we would never again get out of this hole. The only positive factor of this incident: Stéphane witnessed what happened and could opt for another, better way."
When finally arriving at the bivouac, Roma had lost more than an hour and finished 23rd. The two Germans Stephan Schott and Holm Schmidt came 25th, with their Mini All4 Racing.
2013/01/11 | 15:29 CET | ARTICLE: MR/HS/QUANDT