Nasser Al-Attiyah (QT) and his co-driver Mathieu Baumel (FR) continue to be the men to beat at this year’s Dakar Rally. The successful duo also won stage ten in the MINI ALL4 Racing at the toughest challenge in motorsports extending their lead in the overall classification. It was their fourth stage win at this year’s Dakar. They are now leading De Villiers/Von Zitzewitz by 28:22 minutes.
“Today was a really difficult stage: it was a rally road, most of the time in the mountains,” Al-Attiyah said. “In the last part it was raining a lot and we are satisfied to finish: I think the other crews running behind us could have some difficulties . For us though it was a good run. What made it difficult was that there was not enough information in the road book therefore it was so easy to make a mistake. So we just found a good pace and stuck to it, then we discovered we had another stage win!”
Orlando Terranova/Bernardo Graue (AR/AR) perfected the MINI one-two win today finishing 1:35 minutes behind Al-Attiyah/Baumel. Krzysztof Holowczyc/Xavier Panseri (PL/FR) were in seventh place today and are still in a strong fourth place overall.
“It was a very nice route today and we tried to win the first stage in Argentina,” Terranova said. “But today’s road book was a true disaster and we had to look for a waypoint for many kilometres. Nonetheless, having finished second also isn’t too bad.”
Holowczyc said: “We all had to adapt our style of driving today as you couldn’t trust the danger-point documentation in the road book. I was racing at a good pace but unfortunately, we missed two waypoints – although we raced on the track, all the time. I haven’t got the slightest idea what has gone wrong.”
Erik van Loon/Wouter Rosegaar (NL/NL) finished eleventh just outside the top ten. However, the Dutch duo is still in fifth place overall. Meanwhile, Joan “Nani” Roma/Michel Périn (ES/FR) experienced a difficult day. The 2014 Dakar winners crashed after 193 kilometre and were unable to continue.
On Wednesday the drivers had to master another tricky special stage on their way from Calama in Chile to Salta in Argentina. Very fast gravel roads at an altitude of over 4,000 metres were a tough challenge for the engines and drivers alike.
The thin air had a big influence on the physical condition of the drivers as well as on the engine power. However, the MINI ALL4 Racing again proved to be a reliable and strong car under these extreme circumstances.
Stage eleven on Thursday will be held at a much lower altitude of 1,500 metres at the maximum. The just 194 kilometre-long stage, which is part of leg eleven from Salta (AR) to Termas de Rio Hondo (AR), will consist of very fast roads often lined with trees. The drivers will have to be very vigilant again.
Overall classification after leg 10 (Top 5).
01 Al-Attiyah/Baumel – MINI ALL4 Racing – 35:19:37h
02 De Villiers/Von Zitzewitz – 35:47:59h
03 Al Rajhi/Gottschalk – 36:02:45h
04 Holowczyc/Panseri – MINI ALL4 Racing – 36:43:19h
05 Van Loon/Rosegaar – MINI ALL4 Racing – 38:10:50h