|SA-Dakar Rally: Van Loon best Mitsubishi in SS03, Spinelli with tyre problems.|
It was the day of the Dutch Erik van Loon and his navigator Harmen Scholtalbers: They needed 02:33:54 hours for the 3rd stage, only 7:03 minutes left of the daily winner Nani Roma (X-raid Mini).
With the 8th position, the Dutch were the best Mitsubishi-crew of the day in front of Eric Wevers (10th, 02:34:26), Bernhar Ten Brinke (13, 02:37:38), Gert Huzink (15, 02:43:20) in their Racing Lancers before Kuznetsov / Elagin (Russia, 23rd) in their former Mitsubishi Pajero MPR13 workcar (02:52:54).
In the overall classification, Van Loon is now second-best Mitsubishi with the 11th position - with +26:19 to the overall leader Kristof Holowczyc (Poland, X-raid Mini) and directly behind the Dutch crew of Erik Wevers and Fabian Lurquin (+26:06).
Van Loon had some problems on Tuesday. "The beginning of the stage was perfect. We started behind Erik Wevers and could follow him on sight. We were getting closer, but at km 100 we slipped left. We saw, that the rollcage was broken, this was a shock. But we didn´t stop, we just had to drive more careful" Erik van Loon reported.
The the Mitsubishi crew stucked in a river-crossing - and the engine got off. "That was a really hard moment" said Van Loon. "We tried and tried again to start the engine. After waiting some minutes we tried it again - and it works. Puh!"
The Brazilian Mitsubishi Racing Lancer crew of Gilherme Spinelli and Youssef Haddad finished the day on 38th position and 03:09:03 hours, in the overall ranking they slipped back in the 14th position and +49:37 minutes to the leader Holowczyc. After only 50 km, the crew had to stop because of a puncture. Then later, 8 kms before the finish line, the second rear wheel broke and the teams looses again time.
"It´s a shame that we do not know why we broke the wheel" Guilherme Spinelli told. "This is the Dakar, one day things go well and another day bad. But we will continue to head up." Youssef Haddad added: "Today the luck was not with us, but the Dakar is still a long time to go. Because the two broken tyres we had to finish the stage with great caution. We broke two screws and the others bent, so we had to be careful not to break the rest."
2012/01/04 | 16:17 CET | ARTICLE: MR/SY/HS