Another stage win for MINI at the 2015 Dakar Rally: Orlando Terranova (AR) and his co-driver Bernardo Graue (AR) won stage seven, claiming their third stage win at this year’s event.
“The special stage was rather tough and the mud during the stage didn’t make things easier,” Orlando said. “Now we are going to check the car, change the tires and then, we should make it to tomorrow’s bivouac without problems.”
On day seven the Dakar route lead from Iquique in Chile to Uyuni in Bolivia. The drivers had to cross a mountain plateau at an altitude of almost 3,900 metres above sea level. The 321 kilometre-long special stage was held on very loose gravel thus being extremely rough on the tires.
Today the drivers had to be extremely careful as today’s and tomorrow’s stage are part of marathon stage. Two stages at which the drivers can’t call upon their support teams. Only three spare tires are allowed to be carried within the car during that time.
Given those circumstances, MINI posted an extremely strong result: Krzysztof Holowczyc/Xavier Panseri (PL/FR) finished the day in fourth position, maintaining their fourth place in the overall classification as well.
Another three MINI ALL4 Racing finished in the top ten today: Joan “Nani” Roma/Michel Périn (ES/FR) were in fifth position, Nasser Al-Attiyah/Mathieu Baumel (QT/FR) finished seventh, defending their lead in the overall classification. Vladimir Vasilyev/Konstantin Zhiltsov (RU/RU) rounded up the top ten today.
“The stage wasn’t difficult; it was the altitude,” Al-Attiyah said. “I had to stop three times to vomit and I had a terrible headache every time we went over a bump. I’ve lost some time, but it’s no big deal. We don’t need to push our limits. The car is in good condition, so we’re only going to change the tires, check a few things and then get a rest.”
On Sunday the Dakar will tackle the final stage before the rest day which will also be the second part of the marathon stages. After the short visit to Bolivia the drivers will head back to the city of Iquique at the Pacific Coast in Chile
The drivers will have to cover 784 timed kilometres across the Salar de Uyuni, a dried out salt lake. At an altitude of approximately 3,700 metres above sea level they can put their foot down before descending on twisty mountain roads towards Iquique. Later they will have to tackle the dunes around Iquique again. A tough and eventful day lies ahead.
Overall classification after leg 7 (Top 6).
01 Al-Attiyah/Baumel – MINI ALL4 Racing – 23:11:50h
02 De Villiers/Von Zitzewitz – 23:20:04h
03 Al Rajhi/Gottschalk – 23:33:06h
04 Holowczyc/Panseri – MINI ALL4 Racing – 24:05:52h
05 Ten Brinke/Colsoul – 24:08:53h
06 Van Loon/Rosegaar – MINI ALL4 Racing – 24:27:01h