MINI continues to show a dominant performance as the 2015 Dakar Rally is turning into the home stretch. Orlando Terranova/Bernardo Graue (AR/AR) celebrated another stage win on leg twelve, their fourth in total at this year’s event.
“During the course of the special stage we closed in on Nasser but then, we lost time in his dust. Trying to pass him would have been just too dangerous,” Terranova said. “Later, however, I could push again and secure the win. Vasilyev was really fast today. In the closing stages, a big crowd was standing next to the road – that always is great to witness.”
Vladimir Vasilyev/Konstantin Zhiltsov (RU/RU) finished in second place. They perfected the fifth MINI one-two victory at this year’s Dakar and moved up another place in the overall classification to P5. So far the MINI ALL4 Racing has won eleven out of twelve stages. Four MINI ALL4 Racing cars are currently within the top five in the overall classification.
Nasser Al-Attiyah (QT) and his co-driver Mathieu Baumel (FR) finished in fourth place today and have further extended their lead in the overall classification. They are now comfortably leading the field by 35:39 minutes. “It seemed like a long stage to us, so the priority was only to get through it without any risks,” Al-Attiyah said. “It went well and nobody caught us: we kept the speed in order not to lose the concentration.”
On Friday the Dakar route lead from Termas de Rio Hondo (AR) to Rosario (AR). The drivers had to tackle a 298 kilometre-long, very fast stage held on twisty gravel roads lined with trees and bushes. The drivers had to be very careful not to wreck their cars on the penultimate stage of this year’s Dakar Rally.
Krzysztof Holowczyc/Xavier Panseri (PL/FR) were in eighth place on Friday and are still in third place overall. Erik van Loon/Wouter Rosegaar (NL/NL) are also continuing to show a strong pace. They are fourth overall ahead of Vasilyev/Zhiltsov with just one stage to go.
“We had to drive for 100 kilometres in the dust of a rival but the road was narrow and I didn’t want to take any unnecessary risks,” Holowczyc said. “But then, the adrenalin took over and I passed him, nevertheless. Afterwards, we returned to our careful approach. But I’m not yet ready to be happy about this position. After all, we still have to survive tomorrow’s stage.”
On Saturday the Dakar will head to Buenos Aires (AR), where the drivers will cross the finish line after more than 9,000 kilometres across South America. The final stage will be the shortest of the whole Dakar Rally. The drivers have to stay concentrated for another 174 kilometres before they have finally mastered the toughest challenge in motorsports.
Overall classification after leg 12 (Top 5).
01 Al-Attiyah/Baumel – MINI ALL4 Racing – 40:18:30h
02 De Villiers/Von Zitzewitz – 40:54:09h
03 Holowczyc/Panseri – MINI ALL4 Racing – 41:50:21h
04 Van Loon/Rosegaar – MINI ALL4 Racing – 43:20:04h
05 Vasilyev/Zhiltsov – MINI ALL4 Racing – 43:30:49h