|SA-Dakar Rally: Carlos Sousa and Great Wall gets back into overall Top 10.|
In spite of having the flu, the former FIA World Cup Champion Carlos Sousa from Portugal got on well in the difficult 3rd stage, where he got two places overall with his Chinese Great Wall Haval and the position of best Portuguese driver among the cars. Unfortunately he lost time behind an "inattentive" Argentinian driver and also on a stop to change another flat tire.
"It was an extremely difficult day. I had a rough night and woke up with the flu. Despite the medication, I felt under the weather and never at 100 per cent, today of all days that we had to face such a tough and demanding stage", affirmed the driver of Team Great Wall Motors when he arrived to San Juan.
"Despite everything, we didn’t lose much time after all and I can only be glad that I overcame one more day, on which he had another flat tire and were blocked for most of the stage by the Argentinian driver from Toyota", explained Carlos Sousa, referring to Lucio Alvarez’s poor sportsmanship, who he reached soon after the first 40 km of the stage.
"We were being faster in track, but he decided not to let us pass. When we finally passed him after several attempts, we bumped into a rock and punctured the tire. At the end, we reached him again but he blocked us once more. At the arrival he excused himself by saying that he never saw me behind him… Well, it was a pity, because we were driving fast at the end and could have taken some good three minutes to our final time", complained Sousa, losing 8:21 minutes to the winner Joan Roma.
"The pace at the front of the race is very strong and the fight is pretty fierce, since the first five positions are separated by a bit more than two minutes! Personally I was counting on losing some time in these first stages, due to a lack of competitive pace and a need to adapt myself to the car. The engine is very good, but there are still some adjustments to be made to the suspension, because I still feel the car’s rear end slipping. It’s something we will have correct during the next few days", concluded Sousa, occupying the 9th place overall.
As for the other official driver of Team Great Wall Motors, the Chinese Zhou Yong, he is passing up the order overall. After the initial problems he managed to be the 25th fastest driver in today’s stage in his Haval SUV.
2012/01/04 | 14:54 CET | ARTICLE: MR/SY/RRMG/PRESSAPORTER