Jan 14, 2016
The 10th stage – from Belén to La Rioja – was a true challenge and jumbled the overall standings massively. With today’s 244-kilometre special stage contested, Nasser Al-Attiyah (QAT), Mathieu Baumel (FRA) and their MINI ALL4 Racing now hold second position in the overall standings – behind Stéphane Peterhansel. Mikko Hirvonen (FIN) and Michel Périn (FRA) still are fourth. Meanwhile, Nani Roma and Alex Haro (both ESP) impressed with a sensational performance, finished fourth and leaped up to seventh overall. Harry Hunt (GBR) and Andreas Schulz (GER) also once again delivered in great style and finished eight. Orlando Terranova and Ronnie Graue (both ARG), however, encountered a day to forget and had to settle for finishing 33rd.
Today, Nani Roma was the lucky dog of the MINI ALL4 Racing camp and so, he finally could smile again despite all the bad luck he had had to cope with on the previous days. “What a positive day,” he said beaming. “Although it was a tough day for everybody. too. We rolled in the opening stages but Harry helped us back on our wheels. Then, our windscreen wipers unfortunately failed and that wasn’t rather inconvenient when we were driving in the water. Alex did a great job! He decided to leave the main tracks and this decision proved to have been perfect. We didn’t make any mistakes after our rollover. Later I had to make a short stop to help Orly. Today’s result helped us back in a good position in the overall standings and that boosts Alex’ and my confidence.” In addition, Roma und Haro even are in a position allowing them to hope for more. The gap to the sixth-placed adversaries, for instance, adds up to just 18 seconds.
Dakar rookie Hunt was the second fastest MINI ALL4 Racing driver today, worked his way up to 10th place overall and said with his well-known beaming face: “It was a really good day. We knew that today’s stage would be really gruelling and therefore, we took it easy in the early stages. Sometime we saw Roma lying on the side and pulled him back on the wheels. Later we lost several minutes while looking for a waypoint but succeeded in avoiding getting involved in any other problem. Only after the neutralisation we got stuck for a few minutes. I just can’t believe it that we are 10ths, now.”
For Al-Attiyah it was both a good and a bad day. On the one hand he benefited from the problem the Peugeot of Carlos Sainz struggled with and gained a position in the overall standings. On the other hand, he also had his problems, today. “This was anything but an easy day,” revealed Al-Attiyah who finished 14th. “Some five kilometres after the start we rolled. This incident cost us a lot of time. We had to put the car back on its wheels and check if everything was alright before we could rejoin the action. Later, we lost our way for a short time as the navigation was truly difficult, today. And then we got stuck and lost another 20 minutes. Nonetheless, we now hold second position in the overall rankings. We lost a lot of time but it was important to make it to the finish. After all, there still are several days to go.”
Today, Hirvonen had to face all the perils a Dakar has in store and after having tackled all the problems he crossed the finish line in 14th position. “We got lost but fortunately found our way back. Later we got deeply stuck what cost us a lot of time,” admitted Hirvonen. “Afterwards, things went rather well. We got stuck another time but quickly got going again. What can you say? That’s part of the game. This was the first day for me to witness how difficult navigation can be.”
Tomorrow’s stage 11 will take the field from La Rioja to San Juan and keeps any kind of sand ready: soft, hard, Fech Fech. At the same time, the 431-kilometre special stage also will feature several riverbeds. Altogether, the competitors will have to cover 712 kilometres.
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