Jan 15, 2018
LEG 8 : AL ATTIYAH STAYS IN THE HUNT
The Toyota Gazoo Racing South Africa Team’s Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah protected his second position in the overall standings on the second half of the Marathon stage between Uyuni and Tupiza in Bolivia. The Qatari and French navigator Matthieu Baumel carded the third quickest time and reduced Carlos Sainz’s overall advantage by 4min 52sec to 1hr 06min 37sec. But he will have to wait until Tuesday to try and reduce the gap still further after tomorrow’s ninth stage was cancelled on safety grounds following a bad weather forecast in the High Andes. Giniel De Villiers and German co-driver Dirk von Zitzewitz dropped nearly 20 minutes early in the stage stuck in a hole full of vegetation and went on to set the ninth quickest time.
Bernhard Ten Brinke and French co-driver Michel Périn were fourth quickest and took advantage of the South African’s misfortune to move above their team-mate and into fourth in the rankings. The route of the longest stage of the rally passed over the Uyuni salt flats en route to the night halt in Tupiza and the rendez-vous with the service crews and the rest of the Dakar caravan. Race officials opted to cancel the ninth stage in Bolivia before the race crossed the frontier into Argentina en route from Tupiza to Salta. An adverse weather forecast had led to the severe risk of thunderstorms, flooding and severe disruption. It means that 242km of competition against the clock has been lost.
Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah said: “This is a good result. Our Hilux has shown its reliability on the two days of the Marathon stage where we have raced nearly 1,000km of special stages without the slightest problem. We only had a slow puncture today. We will continue to attack to maintain our position. But we will also be keeping a close eye on what is happening in front….”
Giniel de Villiers said: “I lost 20 minutes stuck in a hole full of vegetation. I did not see it. We had to resort to putting the spare wheels under the car to get out. It’s a real shame to lose time like this as we were on a good pace. I console myself by telling myself that I will have an advantageous starting position for the Belén special the day after tomorrow.”
Bernhard Ten Brinke said: “We did a good job without making a mistake. We attacked a little more than normal this time because we lost too much time yesterday because of our concern for the windscreen wipers. I wanted to regain ground. We caught several cars. It was good to go fast.”
Sunday 14th January / Uyuni-Tupiza / 498 km of stage
3. Al Attiyah-Baumel (Toyota Hilux) + 2’12’’
4. Ten Brinke-Perin (Toyota Hilux) + 5’00’’
9. De Villiers-Von Zitzewitz (Toyota Hilux) + 23’19’’
2. Al Attiyah-Baumel (Toyota Hilux) + 1h06’37’’
4. Ten Brinke-Perin (Toyota Hilux) + 1h23’00’’
5. De Villiers-Von Zitzewitz (Toyota Hilux) + 1h37’09’’
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