|SA-Dakar: Isuzu Motorsport and Garland/Suzuki still in good position.|
The Isuzu D-Max pickup of Australian offroad racer Bruce Garland has maintained position during Day Two of the 2011 Dakar Rally while a number of his rivals fell by the way. Sydney-based Dakar veteran Garland and co-driver Harry Suzuki started the day 19th on the road, courtesy of yesterday´s result, and maintained that position after a full day of racing.
The Isuzu Motorsports duo now finds themselves in some illustrious company after the bad luck that befell some of the leaders. The D-Max is just shy of last year´s third placegetter Mark Miller from the VW factory team (43rd car home today; 16th outright), and just ahead of American racing star Robby Gordon and his Hummer (46th today; 21st outright). Their nearest rival the X-raid BMW X3CC of the Germany Stephan Schott - is now in 25th place outright.
"We actually had a good day. We could have gone faster but we didn´t. One reason was the conditions lots of dust and lots of rain, narrow tracks, then undulating plains. It was a brand-new stage for the event. The other reason the main reason is that we´ve found a good pace that suits the car and suits us and we´ll just maintain that over the next few days. The underlying strategy, apart from obviously not wanting to damage the D-Max, is make sure we are well ahead of the trucks."
"The problem is there´s just no room for error or playing the hero but people seem to struggle to learn that. The roads are very narrow, with big drops off the side and big boulders on the edge so it is just too easy to damage the car a lot of people certainly discovered that today."
Garland says there´s still no official word from the event organisers as what might happen if Argentina and Chile are subject to more earthquakes. There have been several quakes over the last few days near the areas the rally is travelling through, but as yet no suggestion the route will be changed.
"None of us would feel anything if there are quakes along the way we´re all getting plenty shaken up just driving as it is! The good thing for us is that we´re so far inland that we´re not at risk of any tsunamis. We just hope it stops we feel sorry for the local people because they´ve been through so much."
2011/01/04 | 14:23 CET | ARTICLE: MR/SWANTON