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This is the single-news section of the news "Offroad & Motorsports". To see all news please use the link under the article or navigate with the left main-navigation.

Dakar 2007: Michael Petersen now holds 23rd Position overall.

Michael Petersen and co-driver Matthew Stevenson from the US-based Petersen/White Lightning Team arrived in the ocean-side city 23rd in the overall standings after the final, long stage of the world’s most daunting auto racing event. Their SMG Chevrolet buggy covered the 225 km special timed section in three hours, 30 minutes and 16 seconds, 91st overall. As planned, Petersen cruised through yesterday´s stage in the beaten and bruised No. 351 with the overall goal to reach the finish line tomorrow afternoon.

At the end of Stage 14, which crossed gravel, sand and laterite, Petersen was one hour, nine minutes and 14 seconds behind stage-winner Carlos Sainz. With little to gain and much to lose in yesterday´s stage, the experienced off-road and sports car racer chose to take it easy on his equipment. It was a task made even more trying by the late start and oppressive dust that coated the Petersen/White Lightning entry as it entered Dakar.

Because the dust made visibility almost zero, Petersen slowed his pace to ensure that it would be ready for the final stage on Sunday. Stéphane Peterhansel is the current overall leader after 15 days of the event. Peterhansel is 14 hours, 16 minutes and 25 seconds ahead of Petersen. Currently, Petersen/White Lightning is one of only 107 car entries that remain from a starting field of 177. Petersen is the third highest-ranking American and the fifth-highest ranked two-wheel drive vehicle in the car class.

The battle for a top-25 finishing position is among the most heated in the rally. After 6,813 km and 14 stages, Petersen/White Lightning is 45 minutes behind the 22nd position leaving little chance for advancement. However, the gap back to 24th is only four minutes while the drop to 25th is only 12 minutes away. A 27th place finish would result in a loss of only 20 minutes in the final timed stage. Regardless of the final overall result, any finish in the Euromilhões Dakar 2007 is a remarkable accomplishment. The feat becomes even more spectacular as a first time team and driver.

For Petersen/White Lightning, yesterday´s stage culminated at the home of the United States Ambassador to Senegal. The team relaxed and enjoyed the hospitality of Ambassador Janice Jacobs, a native of Virginia. Tonight, Petersen, Stevenson, program manager/entrant Dale White (Bozeman, MT) and team technicians Nico Castellaccio and Dennis Chizma will also enjoy their first real shower and clean sheets since leaving Europe on January 7. It was a welcome addition to their daily routine after over two weeks of almost non-stop driving, repair and maintenance to the race buggy in the most deplorable and wearing conditions.

2007/01/21 | 12:03 CET | Editor: MR/Petersen

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