Jan 04, 2017
· Al-Rajhi and Hirvonen seventh and ninth respectively
The Dakar Rally finally started into its 2017 edition, with stage one taking the field from Paraguay’s capital Asuncion to Resistencia, Argentina. Prior to the border crossing the drivers had to contest a short 39-kilometre special stage. Yazeed Al-Rajhi (KSA) and Timo Gottschalk (GER) set the seventh-fastest time, thus finishing two positions ahead of their MINI John Cooper Works Rally team-mates Mikko Hirvonen (FIN) and Michel Périn (FRA). Argentinean Orlando Terranova and his German navigator Andreas Schulz came 11th.
“We just wanted to complete the stage without making mistakes,” Al-Rajhi explained. “The special stage was short but demanding, particularly for the car. We now are going to increase the pressure step by step to try to battle it out for a podium finish.”
“Actually, everything went well today,” revealed Hirvonen. “The track was fast but featured several surprising holes and bumps. But we had no problems and I’m happy with how we fared. Nonetheless, I have to admit that I tend to decelerate too much on very bumpy roads. I still lack the feeling for the car, in these situations. I’m looking forward to having to contest a real cross-country stage instead of another sprint, tomorrow.”
“This was my first special stage with Andi as my navigator,” said Terranova. “We are familiarising with one another better and better. The setup of the MINI suited the stage really well. In this stage we actually would have needed a road book as the ones used in WRC as the speed was high and the terrain difficult.”
Kuba Przygonski (POL) and Tom Colsoul (BEL) set the 14th-fastest time while Sylvio Barros (BRA) and Rafael Capoani (ITA) who were signed as MINI ALL4 Racing pairing at short notice did really well and finished 21st, right ahead of Boris Garafulic (CHI) and Filipe Palmeiro (POR) in 22nd. Qatar’s Mohamed Abu Issa who is about to contest his first Dakar Rally in a car and his navigator Xavier Panseri (FRA) came 23rd. Stephan Schott (GER) was hampered by food poisoning but secured the fine 31st position, nevertheless.
“This rather was a kind of a sprint race,” assessed Przygonski. “We pushed and also found a good rhythm. The gaps between the cars are small, just a few seconds. In the special stage we closed in on Spartaro and lost some time in his dust. But he quickly let us pass and that was great as more often than not, passing an opponent is difficult. The track was really demanding and in addition, there were some rather deep water crossings.”
“I was as excited as if I was about to contest my first Dakar,” admitted Abu Issa. “Furthermore, the track was narrow, bumpy and difficult to race on – just the components you don’t need if you are a newcomer in the car category. You want room that allows you to make mistakes. But it worked well and I got out of the car with a smile on my face.”
Tomorrow, the competitors will have to cope with a clearly bigger challenge: a total distance of 802 kilometres from Resistencia to San Miguel de Tucuman, with 275 of them representing the special-stage distance. It will be a typical Argentinean special stage, mainly reminding of WRC routes. And due to the dispersed dust, overtaking will be extremely difficult.
Result Dakar 2017 SS1:
1. N. Al-Attiyah (QAT) / M. Baumel (FRA) Toyota – 25m 41s
2. X. Pons (ESP) / R. Garcia (ARG) Ford – 26m 05s
3. N. Roma (ESP) / A. Haro (ESP) Toyota – 26m 10s
4. C. Sainz (ESP) / L. Cruz (ESP) Peugeot – 26m 14s
5. G. de Villiers (KZA) / D. Von Zitzewitz (GER) Toyota – 26m 22s
7. Y. Al-Rajhi (KSA) / T. Gottschalk (GER) MINI John Cooper Works Rally – 26m 47s
9. M. Hirvonen (FIN) / M. Périn (FRA) MINI John Cooper Works Rally – 27m 01s
11. O. Terranova (ARG) / A. Schulz (GER) MINI John Cooper Works Rally – 27m 05s
14. J. Przygonski (POL) / T. Colsoul (BEL) MINI ALL4 Racing – 27m 28s
21. S. Barros (BRA) / R. Capoani (ITA) MINI ALL4 Racing – 28m 48s
22. B. Garafulic (CHI) / F. Palmeiro (POR) MINI ALL4 Racing – 28m 59s
23. M. Abu Issa (QAT) / X. Panseri (FRA) MINI ALL4 Racing – 29m 02s
31. S. Schott (GER) / P. Fiúza (POR) MINI ALL4 Racing – 30m 59s
Nov 29, 2021 Comments Off on Book Review: Fiat in Motorsport – Since 1899
Nov 28, 2021 Comments Off on Dakar 2022: X-raid with five MINI desert racers on the grid
Nov 23, 2021 Comments Off on St. Helena arrives in GB as Extreme E prepares for season finale in Dorset
Nov 23, 2021 Comments Off on William Creighton wins 2021 Junior British Rally Championship title at Modern Tyres Ulster Rally
Comments Off on Dakar 2022: X-raid with five MINI desert racers on the grid
Comments Off on St. Helena arrives in GB as Extreme E prepares for season finale in Dorset
Comments Off on Nasser Al-Attiyah & Mathieu Baumel in Dakar 2022 with new Toyota GR DKR Hilux T1
Comments Off on 2 x MINI JCW Buggys in Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge top 5
Oct 31, 2021Tweet William Creighton takes his fourth Junior BRC win of...
Sep 24, 2021Tweet Electrifying addition to the brand with the four...
Apr 16, 2021TweetThis instalment in Evro’s decade-by-decade series...
Mar 08, 2021TweetTo celebrate International Women’s Day, Alfa Romeo...
Feb 26, 2021TweetHRC are deeply saddened to hear of the passing of...
Nov 28, 2021Tweet Three MINI JCW Buggy in the line-up Further route details announced Today, the ASO, the organiser of the Dakar, presented the route of the 2022 edition in Saudi Arabia! The official start will...
Nov 23, 2021
Nov 23, 2021
Nov 11, 2021
Nov 11, 2021