Jan 14, 2018
|Special Stage 7 started with all competitors in good spirits and refreshed following the official rest day in the Dakar bivouac situated in the area of Bolivian city La Paz. At 3,625 metres altitude, the La Paz bivouac ensured competitors were treated to spectacular views and, of course, some well-deserved sleep. At the same time the MINI racing vehicles were checked and prepared ready for the restart of Dakar with Stage 7.
From the moment the auto competitors completed the liaison stage and the start of the off-road special stage, the sand and dunes of Bolivia’s plains began to affect the competitors and the outlook of the racing. Soft sand amongst the areas of camel grass caused problems for many crews, including the five crews of the MINI Family, with their cars frequently getting stuck,
If the sand conditions were bad then the rain that followed made conditions even worse. Muddy terrain became very slippery and large puddles of water began to form to hide large rocks that would ultimately damage cars of the less than lucky competitors.
Jakub ‘Kuba’ Przygonski (POL) and Tom Colsoul (BEL) in their MINI John Cooper Works Rally fared best of the MINI Family and were the first MINI crew to make it to the end of Stage 7 with a hard fought fourth place. This result means that the MINI John Cooper Works Rally (#312) crew maintained their overall position of sixth.
Boris Garafulic (CHI) and co-driver Filipe Palmeiro (POR) was the second MINI crew to successfully complete the 727km of Stage 7. The MINI John Cooper Works Rally (#317) crew arrived at the Uyuni finish point in ninth place to lift them to 22nd in the overall race category.
The remainder of the MINI crews were significantly delayed during Stage 7. Whether this was due to the conditions or for other reasons is unclear due to the fact communication systems in the mountain regions is limited. However, Dakar race control was informed that the MINI John Cooper Works Rally crew of Orlando Terranova (ARG) and co-driver Bernardo Graue (ARG) completed the stage in 31st place.
Mikko Hirvonen (FIN) / Andreas Schulz (DEU) finished seven places behind in 38th and 4hrs behind the first car to finish the stage. Unfortunately, the crew of Yazeed Al Rajhi (KSA) / Timo Gottschalk (DEU) were not classified in the stage results.
Stage 7 is also known as a Marathon Stage. This means the crews are subject to no outside assistance and have to service their own vehicles in the Uyuni bivouac ahead of Stage 8. With heavy rain forecast in the region, Stage 8 could also prove to be a hard race.
MINI Family reports: Stage 7
Next stage: Stage 8, Uyuni- Tupiz. For more information about Dakar 2018, please visit the host’s event home page here.
Dakar Rally 2018: MINI standings after Stage 7
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