|SA-Dakar: Holowczyc and Peterhansel claim second and third in Stage 10.|
Polish driver Krzysztof Holowczyc and Belgian co-driver Jean-Marc Fortin claimed a superb second position in their BMW X3CC on the 10th of 13 special stages in this year’s Dakar Rally, held in punishing heat between Copiapó in Chile and Chilecito in Argentina, on Wednesday.
The X-raid team duo of Stéphane Peterhansel and Jean-Paul Cottret looked set to win the special in their BMW X3 CC, but the French duo lost the stage lead within a few kilometres of the finish following a series of minor mistakes and finished in third place.
These delays, and a similar navigational error for overall leader Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah after 160km, ensured that South Africa’s Giniel de Villiers claimed his first stage win on this year’s event.
Peterhansel remains in a solid fourth overall, 1h 39m 32s behind Al-Attiyah. The Qatari beat closest rival Carlos Sainz by 9m 19s on the day’s timed special and will take a 12m 37s advantage over the Spaniard into the 11thstage on Thursday.
"I am disappointed because it was not a good stage for us, as we made many mistakes," said Peterhansel. "We started through the dunes and then we got lost as well as getting stuck when we tried to cross a dry river bed. We tried to go over a wall and the car landed on its nose and came to rest balancing. We were forced to dig our way out. It was not a good special. I attacked, but made more errors. It’s a shame because we had a good speed today."
Holowczyc held fourth position through the first passage control after the sand dunes and a similar place at PC2. He kept clear of trouble over the closing kilometres to record a superb second overall on the special - a career-best performance on a Dakar stage for the Pole - to retain sixth overall in his BMW X3 CC. Fifth-placed Mark Miller lost considerable time on the stage and clings on to his overall position by just 8m 54s.
"This was a good result today and I am very pleased for Krzysztof because he deserved this result," said X-raid team director Sven Quandt. "He has driven very well on some difficult stages over the last few days. For Stéphane it was not easy because of the navigation, but our cars were fast today and on a good pace.
"It would be nice to have another stage win, but it will be difficult with Krzysztof and Stéphane starting just behind Giniel tomorrow. We will need to make a plan for the last three days to make sure we get at least one more stage win."
Ricardo Leal Dos Santos and Paulo Fiùza were inside the top six at the first passage control, but slipped just behind Frenchman Christian Laveille on the section to PC2 and passed the control in eighth. The Portuguese pair overtook Miller, Guilherme Spinelli, Alfie Cox and Christian Laveille on the stage and eventually recorded the sixth fastest time in their Monster Energy-backed BMW X3 CC.
Stephan Schott and Holm Schmidt managed to replace the clutch in their BMW X3CC with the help of Thomas Baumann, Andrea Mayer and Phillip Beier and the loss of just over four and a half hours on Tuesday. They completed the ninth stage in 54th position but, remarkably, only slipped two positions to 22nd in the overall rankings - such was the difficulty of the special stage.
Schott began the 10th stage in 56th position on the road and was forced to work his way through the tail-enders. He had surged through the field to 28th by PC1 and slipped a place to 29th at PC2.
Mayer, Baumann and Beier had completed Schott’s repairs at the start of the special stage yesterday and then returned to the Copiapó bivouac without taking to the stage themselves. They started the 10th stage with further time penalties at 13.53hrs and were running in 25th position through PC1.
2011/01/12 | 21:53 CET | ARTICLE: MR/SY