|SA-Dakar Rally: Holowczyc - "Steering the car across the rocks was big fun".|
Right after having crossed the finish line in San Juan, special-stage winner Roma was surrounded by numerous journalists. And although the winner was happy to have secured this win, he was even more delighted for his mechanics.
"This win is a nice success for the team," beamed the Spaniard. "And yes, I’m happy to have won this special stage. Nonetheless, I’m fully focused on Lima." The 39-year old completed the 208-kilometre special stage without encountering any problems whatsoever.
Krzysztof Holowczyc, who truly enjoyed the special stage, also had a good chance of celebrating the win. "The track was technically demanding and steering the car across the rocks was big fun," the 49-year old said with a grin.
But then, he temporarily lost his way. "We were driving in the dust and took a wrong turn as the motorbikes are taking another route, there," explained his co-driver Fortin. "Fortunately, I realised right away what had happened and we didn’t lose a lot of time."
Holowczyc encountered the moment of shock of the day - during a multi-minute water passage. "We drove at about 20kph and nonetheless, our vision was virtually zero. Suddenly, there was a big bang," recalled the Pole. A thick branch hit and broke the wind screen. "At first I thought it was a stone," he added, "But where should it have come from. Then we saw the branch."
Stéphane Peterhansel dominated the early stages but later, he had to cope with a massive dose of bad luck. The Frenchman encountered two punctures and dropped back to seventh. At first a piece of wood damaged a tyre, resulting in a slow puncture and later, a stone caused the second flat tyre. "This wasn’t a good day for me," admitted Peterhansel who now holds fifth position in the overall rankings.
Novitskiy and Schulz in their orange Mini finished two positions behind the French pairing. For them, it was an uneventful third special stage. "We drove at a speedy pace but carefully," revealed Schulz.
Chilean-French pairing Boris Garafulic / Gilles Picard also impressed with another good performance and finished - as things are now - 17th, with their Advisors BMW X3 CC. With just a few more kilometres to go, they tried to help Ricardo Leal dos Santos who had got stuck in the mud but at the end of the day, their effort was in vain.
"The special stage was a rather tough one," said the Chilean, "But I’m happy for Nani. This was the perfect track for him - you had to drive as if you were riding a motorbike."
2012/01/04 | 13:25 CET | ARTICLE: MR/SY/QUANDT