|Dakar 2010: Alfie Cox and Schroeder catapult up the order.|
"Excellent" is the best way to describe the 2010 Argentina Chile Dakar for South Africa’s Dakar legend Alfie Cox and his German co-driver Jürgen Schroeder, with their PS Laser Racing Navara, lying fifth overall in the car category. Cox celebrating his 47th birthday tomorrow, gave himself an early birthday present with today’s magnificent performance.
At the end of three special stages, after the first day in the dunes, the organizers were forced to make changes to today’s special stage of 203km on route to Copiapó in Chile. Numerous competitors were still out in the dunes at nightfall last night (Monday) which lead to the cancellation of the last 40km. The stage ended at checkpoint 3 with a distance of 163km.
In addition the start was delayed by 90 minutes giving those who arrived late at the bivouac an opportunity to join the starting line-up. Competitors drove 394km to the start of the special stage, crossing the border into Chile in the process.
The first 37km of the special stage was rocky, rough mountain terrain, crossing the highest point in the day’s stage over the Andes, starting at 2300m above sea-level, climbing steep to over 3000m before dropping right down to 1600m. The next 53km was fast dirt tracks with hanging dust, affecting visibility. Then the gradual drop through the dunes to 300m above sea-level started. In some places the talcum powder like fine sand or ‘fesh-fesh’ as it is called in Africa sucked in vehicles and made the going very strenuous. Many vehicles had to be towed out, the South Americans call it
Alfie Cox was concerned about the altitude last night, but the concern fortunately proved to be unnecessary, and everything went well. "I am so excited about the Navara, one can see this car is built for the sand and the desert of the Dakar race. To be in the top-five overall is fantastic. We had a great day," said Alfie Cox at the end of the special stage.
Cox says the car is running perfectly after they had fuel pump problems yesterday; "The crew replaced it last night and it worked well today." Today Alfie Cox celebrates his birthday during the longest stage to date, and the second longest special stage of this year’s event.
2010/01/06 | 16:15 CET | Editor: MR/HS/Zyl