MINI ALL4Racing’s Holowczyc 3rd in Dakar overall – Coma out
• Terranova once again runner-up in the stage
• Nani Roma wasn’t allowed to continue
In the 11th stage, from Salta to Termas Rio Hondo, the two Argentineans Orlando Terranova and Bernardo ‘Ronnie’ Graue repeated yesterday’s achievement and once again crossed the finish line in second position. Meanwhile, his team-mates Krzysztof Holowczyc (POL) and Xavier Panseri (FRA) had to settle for finishing 18th but did so because they had opted for backing off deliberately. While their main rival for third position, Yazeed Al-Rahji, had been forced into retirement by a technical failure during the liaison section. Therefore, Holowczyc moved up to third and wants to defend this position to the finish in Buenos Aires.
Terranova currently is on a roll and seems to feel well on his home soil: “It was a beautiful but also really fast track, resembling a WRC special stage. In some sections it was slippery and muddy and you had to be really careful. Therefore, we didn’t push to the max.” In the meantime, he has worked his way back up into the top 20 and holds 18th place.
Just another two days to go and Holowczyc made another step on the way to realising his goal: to make it to the Dakar podium. “When we saw Yazeed in the liaison section in problems we only thought that we may have the chance to climb up to the podium,” revealed the Pole who now holds third position in the overall standings. “This doesn’t mean that I want my rivals to be forced into retirement like that. But in motor racing, everything has to work perfectly – from the first to the final metre. Our MINI ran very well throughout the Dakar to date, apart from some minor problems in the opening stages. But I adapted my style of driving afterwards and tried to take the car to the finish every day in fast but safe style. And this approach paid off.”
Following their accident during the course of stage 10, Nani Roma (ESP) and Michel Périn (FRA) made it back to the bivouac with their damaged MINI ALL4 Racing at 22:45hrs. The team worked on the car throughout the night and at 05:15, it was taken out for a test ride. Later in the morning, however, the race director decided to not let Roma and Périn continue. Afterwards, they drove to the next bivouac via the service route. “Yesterday’s accident shouldn’t have happened and could have been avoided. But the hole wasn’t documented in the road book and so, we just had no chance. Now I feel really sorry for the mechanics who worked in vain throughout the night as we weren’t allowed to continue.”
Tomorrow, on the way to Rosario, the crews will have to cover a massive distance. The stage will feature a total of 1024 kilometres but the special-stage distance adds up to just 298 kilometres. Many of the competitors and their teams, however, are convinced that the organisers will add some difficulties, here, to keep the result open to the very end.”