|Dakar Rally 2014: Great Wall and Sousa/Ramalho triumphs in SS 1 San Luis.|
With Portuguese driver Carlos Sousa behind the wheel, the Chinese Great Wall (GWM) Haval Team sprung a big surprise in the first stage of the 2014 Dakar rally by clocking the fastest time. Sousa, driving the #306 Great Wall Haval H8, finished the challenging first leg of the race, stretching from Rosario to San Luis in Argentinia, in 02:20:36 hours, 11 seconds ahead of Orlando Terranova in the fastest X-raid Mini.
Proving that the Turbodiesel-powered Haval H8 is a serious contender this year, the team´s second driver, Frenchman Christian Lavieille, also finished in the top 10 by crossing the line in eighth place. 2014 marks the fifth consecutive competitive outing for the GWM/Haval team, and follows two consecutive top ten finishes - Carlos Sousa finishing in sixth place in 2012 and 2013.
Following the stage Sousa declared himself a proud winner, and added that it was well-deserved, as the team had made no mistakes but completed the stage without air-conditioning in very hot temperatures.
"We had nearly 70 degrees in the car and the cooler wasn´t working" said Sousa after the race. "This was also a reason why we have won the stage - I wanted to open the doors as fast as possible," the Portuguese said with a laugh. The team has confirmed that this problem will be fixed before the start of the second leg of the race, much to Sousa and his co-driver´s relief.
Top 10 Results SS01 Rosario - San Luis
01) Sousa / Ramalho (PT/PT) I Great Wall Haval I 02:20:36 I 00:00:00
02) Terranova / Fiuza (ARG/PT) I X-raid Mini I 02:20:47 I 00:00:11
03) Al Attiyah / Cruz (QT/ES) I X-raid Mini I 02:21:23 I 00:00:47
04) Roma / Perin (ES/F) I X-raid Mini I 02:21:51 I 00:01:15
05) Sainz / Gottschalk (ES/D) I SMG Gache Buggy I 02:24:39 I 00:04:03
06) Peterhansel / Cottret (F/F) I X-raid Mini I 02:24:57 I 00:04:21
07) Holowczyc / Zhiltsov (PL/RUS) I X-raid Mini I 02:24:57 I 00:04:21
08) Lavieille / Garcin (F/F) I Great Wall Haval I 02:26:18 I 00:05:42
09) Poulter / Howie (RSA/RSA) I Toyota Hilux I 02:26:33 I 00:05:57
10) Van Loon / Rosegaar (NL/NL) I Ford HRX Proto I 02:26:38 I 00:06:02
2014/01/06 | 18:39 CET | ARTICLE: MR/HS/GWM