Dakar:SS10 – MINI’s Orlando Terranova now 6th overall
Following the cancellation of yesterday’s stage, the drivers looked forward to today’s stage from Chilecito to San Juan. At the end of today’s 449-kilometre special stage, Yazeed Al-Rajhi (KSA) / Timo Gottschalk (GER) and their MINI John Cooper Works Rally crossed the line in fourth position, right ahead of their team-mates Orlando Terranova (ARG) / Andreas Schulz (GER). As the third MINI John Cooper Works Rally pairing, Mikko Hirvonen (FIN) and Michel Périn (FRA), was hampered by several problems, Terranova moved up to sixth position overall, just 2.5 minutes behind Toyota’s Giniel de Viliers.
“In the first part we unfortunately had a puncture that cost us several minutes,” reveals Al-Rajhi. “I talked to Orly in the neutralisation who followed 40 seconds behind me. He announced that he was going to push, now but I said to myself: ‘You definitely won’t steal my 40-second lead.’ And indeed, we stayed ahead. Finishing fourth was really good and we didn’t have to take any major risks to do so. Today’s track was extremely bumpy and difficult to drive.”
“The special stage was challenging for the navigators. In the first riverbed we lost some time while looking for the right way,” said Terranova. “Afterwards, however, things went really well for us and we were able to push. It was a true Dakar stage – difficult and hot – and the MINI worked perfectly. Now we will try to work our way up to fourth position in the overall standings.”
“What an eventful day,” said Hirvonen who finished 30th. “We had punctures, lost our way several times and in addition, a car jack and the reverse gear broke. Then we got stuck in the Fech Fech and as we hadn’t our reverse gear this incident cost us more than an hour. Later we followed two trucks that passed one another. One went off the road and although I drove as careful as possible I hit its rear. And to make things even worse, he didn’t see us, backed up – and destroyed our radiator while doing so. This cost us even more time than an hour.”
Boris Garafulic (CHI) and Filipe Palmeiro (POR) took their MINI ALL4 Racing to 11th place. They temporarily were extremely fast and even held third position, at waypoint two. Meanwhile, MINI ALL4 Racing pairing Mohamed Abu Issa (QAT) and Xavier Panseri (FRA) came 15th, today, with Stephan Schott (GER) and Paulo Fiúza (POR) finishing two positions behind them, in 17th.
“It was a really gruelling special stage for both man and material,” said Garafulic. “The temperatures out there rose up to 42 C° and we were out there for about 11 hours. Filipe did a really great job, today. His contribution to our result was massive.”
“I overdid it in the early stages,” Abu Issa admitted in the bivouac. We had a puncture, lost our way, had another damaged tyre – and all this in the dust of the trucks. This of course cost us a lot of time. The second half of the special stage was really fast and we made good progress.”
Meanwhile, Przygonski and Colsoul had to cope with a major dose of bad luck. “In a riverbed we fell for about a metre and on our left side,” the Pole said in the bivouac “We had to get out of the car on Tom’s side as the MINI was lying on mine. Then, we began to struggle with our car. After all, there was nobody else around and we had to get it on its wheels. At the end of the day we lost about 90 minutes but we succeeded in getting the car back on its wheels with our own hands.”