Jan 11, 2018
LEG 5 : TEN BRINKE SHOWS HIS CLASS IN THE DUNES
Toyota Gazoo Racing South Africa survived the last of the daunting special stages through the treacherous Peruvian sand dunes to remain firmly on track for honours at the Dakar Rally. Dutchman Bernhard Ten Brinke and French co-driver Michel Périn are representing the official team for the first time together and they recorded the second fastest time of 2hrs 56min 11sec on the 267km stage and moved up to third in the overall classification.
Nasser Al-Attiyah and co-driver Matthieu Baumel began the day 58min 48sec off the overall lead and further delays cost the crew time in the dunes. They set the fifth quickest time, maintain fourth in the rankings and trail the leaders by 1hr 23min 21sec after the team was forced to change the Hilux’s gearbox between the two sections of the stage and the Qatari ceded another 25 minutes to his rivals.
Giniel de Villiers thought the dunes near the start were some of the toughest he had ever witnessed and the South African and German co-driver Dirk von Zitzewitz recovered well to reach the stage finish in third and climb three places to fifth overall. Cars and trucks followed a different route to the motorcycles on the fifth leg before beginning the steady climb into the night halt in Arequipa on a long road section. The sand was particularly tricky near the start of the 53km opening part of the day’s special and several drivers lost valuable minutes.
Ten Brinke, De Villiers and Al-Attiyah reached the finish in a virtual third, fifth and eighth positions, despite De Villiers admitting he had been stuck with five other cars for several minutes in the softest sand he had ever seen. Tomorrow, the Dakar caravan crosses the border into Bolivia and makes its way to the city of La Paz with sand and dunes replaced by altitude, Altiplano and rockier terrain. Cars tackle a 313km stage and liaisons of 447km. The special starts at over 4,000 metres above sea level after a climb around the Chacani peak and heads along the shores of Lake Titicaca, via Puno, to finish across the border in Bolivia. A short liaison then takes teams into La Paz.
Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah said: “It was a nice stage, but (we had) bad luck also. We broke the gearbox and we were lucky to get through the stage. We fix it and we finished and we are here now. We need to work very hard now for the next nine days, because we see today many people retired, like Sébastien (Loeb), and Mikko Hirvonen have a problem. It is still a long race. I drive at a good speed without any risks because we need to finish the stage.”
Giniel de Villiers said: “The sand (first section) was insanely soft. We got stuck in the same place as five other cars. We looked for a way out and settled on deflating the tyres to 0.5 bar. We also had a flat tyre right before the finish! These are the toughest dunes you will find. There’s nothing tougher than this.”
Bernhard Ten Brinke said: “Today we did a good job. We started the first part of the special from position eight and we choose the right tyre pressure and we manage the dunes very well. There were a lot of people stuck in the dunes and we were able to drive, left and right, around them. The last part of the stage we drive carefully to save the tyres and then we were correct to choose a little bit more pressure in the tyres because there were a lot of rocks on the stage. Michel did a good job with the navigation. It was very difficult. We pushed a bit on the rocks and drive safely in the dunes. We pushed to the finish and we are very happy with second place. Still a long Dakar, but today was very good.”
Wednesday 10th January / San Juan De Marcona-Arequipa / 267 km of stage
2. Ten Brinke-Perin (Toyota Hilux) à 4’52’’
3. De Villiers-Von Zitzewitz (Toyota Hilux) à 12’47’’
5. Al Attiyah-Baumel (Toyota Hilux) à 24’33’’
3. Ten Brinke-Perin (Toyota Hilux) à 1h15’16’’
4. Al Attiyah-Baumel (Toyota Hilux) à 1h23’21’’
5. De Villiers-Von Zitzewitz (Toyota Hilux) à 1h34’34’’
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