|Dakar Rally 2013: One-two for X-raid - and Peterhansel still overall leader.|
The fifth stage from Arequipa to Arica was clearly dominated by the Monster Energy X-raid Team. Many pundits had expected the buggies to have the edge over the competition, on the way across the mountains - but at the end of the day, the all-wheel driven Mini came out on top and gave the Monster Energy X-raid Team a one-two.
Extreme delighted was the Spanish/French pairing Nani Roma/Michel Périn: following several tough days, they secured their first special stage win in the 2013 Dakar, with their yellow Mini - and the second for the Monster Energy X-raid Team. At the beginning of the special stage they held fifth position but at the second checkpoint - at kilometre 58 - the already had taken the lead.
And afterwards, the pairing proved to be unstoppable. "It goes without saying that I’m happy about having won today’s stage but my goal is Santiago - and to realise this goal, we will have to meet quite a number of challenges," sais Roma. "After all, we’ve completed just the fifth special stage and the overall standings are all haywire."
Meanwhile, the fifth stage from Arequipa to Areca also proved to be a successful one for the two Frenchmen Stéphane Peterhansel and Jean-Paul Cottret. With their green Mini, they extended their lead over Nasser Al Attiyah in the overall rankings by 4:38 minutes. In the opening stages, they were outpaced by the driver from Qatar but then, they were able to up the ante and pass him.
"At the beginning I wasn’t able to close up on Nasser but then we suddenly could see him and I knew that I had gained a few minutes," revealed Peterhansel. "The special stage wasn’t what we had expected - but very nice. The first part was fast - and then, the route took us to the mountains and the track got extremely twisty. I particularly liked the closing stages along the Pacific."
Leonid Novitskiy and Konstantin Zhiltsov kept on delivering in solid and consistent style. With their orange Mini, they set the sixth fastest time. "The track was extremely fast and resembled WRC sections," revealed Novitskiy. "But we opted for continuing with the same rhythm we had driven in, on the previous days. I’m happy with me and the result."
Meanwhile, Orlando Terranova and Paulo Fiúza in the BMW X3 CC had to cope with a minor dose of bad luck. In a corner they hit a stone and this incident resulted in a puncture. Apart from that, they had a trouble-free special stage and finished ninth! Together with his French navigator Gilles Picard, Boris Garafulic finished 16th. The Germans Stephan Schott and Holm Schmidt had had a tough fourth day and arrived at the bivouac only at 03:00hrs. But this made virtually no impact on their performance and so, they came 25th, with their Mini.
"What a fantastic day for us," beamed Monster Energy X-raid Team Manager Sven Quandt. "I hadn’t expected us to secure such a great result. The track rather seemed to be buggy terrain. But our guys did a really great job."
The route of the sixth stage (Arica - Calama) takes the competitors to the Atacama Desert in Northern Chile. This means that the day once again will mainly feature sand and dunes. And when the cars arrive at the next bivouac, they will have covered another 768 kilometres, with 358 of these kilometres representing the day’s special stage. In addition, the drivers won’t get much sleep tonight as there will be a two-hour clock change to Chilean time.
2013/01/10 | 00:31 CET | ARTICLE: MR/HS/XRAID