Nasser Al-Attiyah/Mathieu Baumel (QT/FR) are still leading the overall classification at halftime at the 2015 Dakar Rally. The duo finished special stage eight in third position right ahead of its biggest opponents De Villiers/Von Zitzewitz, who are now 8:27 minutes behind in the overall classification.
Orlando Terranova (AR) and his co-driver Bernardo Graue (AR) in the MINI ALL4 Racing also posted a strong result on day eight of this year’s Dakar. The two Argentineans finished one place ahead of Al-Attiyah/Baumel in second position.
Four more MINI ALL4 Racing cars were in the top ten on Sunday. Krzysztof Holowczyc/Xavier Panseri (PL/FR) kept there steady pace today crossing the line in fifth position. They defended their fourth place in the overall classification.
Joan “Nani” Roma/Michel Périn (ES/FR) in the MINI ALL4 Racing were also in the top ten again posting the sixth fastest time. “The Bolivians made a great effort and the accommodation was fantastic,” Roma said at the end of the day. “The people were just incredible and there were thousands of spectators. It was just great. The salt lake we started on today was incredible.”
Vladimir Vasilyev/Konstantin Zhiltsov (RU/RU) were in eighth position followed by Boris Garafulic/Filipe Palmeiro (CL/PT), who finished within the top ten in the MINI ALL4 Racing for the first at this year’s Dakar Rally.
Leg eight lead from Uyuni in Bolivia back to Iquique in Chile where the Dakar was on Friday already. Today the drivers completed the second day of the so-called marathon stages. On two days the drivers couldn’t call upon their support teams.
The 784 kilometre-long special stage eight was held on a dried out salt lake called Salar de Uyuni where the drivers were able to go flat out for several hundred kilometres. Later they entered a 274 kilometre-long neutralization section before heading into a 38 kilometre sprint to Iquique at the Pacific Coast.
“I’m quite happy to finish the marathon days with no real problems; we just had a flat tire today and we also lost a front wheel! Luckily that was not a big deal and it cost us only about two minutes to fix it” Nasser Al-Attiyah said. “The people in Bolivia were very nice and it was a real pleasure to be there. The Salar was amazing: like driving on ice! Thanks to all Bolivians, and especially the president of Bolivia, who was there to support us.”
On Monday the drivers will be able to re-charge their batteries on the rest day in Chile while the teams will be able to set-up the cars for the second part of the toughest rally in the world. There are still five stages to go until the Dakar reaches the finish line in Buenos Aires (AR) on Saturday.
Overall classification after leg 8 (Top 6).
01 Al-Attiyah/Baumel – MINI ALL4 Racing – 26:41:15h
02 De Villiers/Von Zitzewitz – 26:49:42h
03 Al Rajhi/Gottschalk – 26:59:55h
04 Holowczyc/Panseri – MINI ALL4 Racing – 27:35:53h
05 Ten Brinke/Colsoul – 28:04:07h
06 Van Loon/Rosegaar – MINI ALL4 Racing – 28:07:06h