Dakar SS10 – 3 Minis inside top 10
|Dakar Rally 2018 – Stage 10: Salta – Belén|
The cancellation of Monday’s Stage 9 meant an enforced rest day for the competitors of Dakar 2018. Severe storms meant that terrain conditions were particular bad, not just for the competitors, who can race in challenging weather, but also for the support and service teams.
The area around the previous bivouac had flooded to the point where assistance teams could not move their much needed support trucks and, in the interests of safety, the Dakar organisers cancelled Stage 9 to allow time for the large support group to make it to Stage 10’s starting point in Salta.
Tuesday’s Stage 10 started with some good news for the MINI Family. Following the Dakar organisers’ decision to remove Yazeed Al Rajhi (KSA) and co-driver Timo Gottschalk (DEU) from Stage 7’s results, the crew was reinstated and could compete, starting from the back of the auto pack, while the organisers further reviewed the events of Stage 7. Unfortunately, the good news did not last…
Although Yazeed Al Rajhi (KSA) and co-driver Timo Gottschalk (DEU) started Stage 10 and completed, their finish position within this stage did not count. This was because the review of Stage 7 by the Dakar organisers led them to announce the crew had officially been disqualified from Dakar 2018 due to missing too many waypoints during Stage 7.
Stage 10 proved to be a long day for the remaining competitors. Total race distance was given as 797km, of which 373km was off-road for the Special Stage. Although heavy rains and wet conditions were not present in this stage, the replacement was extreme heat – around 40° C in the shade. Add to this sand and dunes, many Rios (dry or wet river beds) and the harsh effects of stones, bumps and camel grass, it turned out to be an exhausting day for all Dakar competitors.
The tiring racing conditions of Stage 10 were not made any easier from the combination of racing at altitude and difficult navigation, which meant co-drivers had to use every piece of their experience to keep on track. At the end of the stage, only four crews of the MINI family were recorded as completing the day’s course – three of which were inside the top ten finishing positions.
First home was the crew of Jakub ‘Kuba’ Przygonski (POL) and his co-driver Tom Colsoul (BEL) in their MINI John Cooper Works Rally (#312). Yet another strong performance saw the pair cross the finish point in sixth place – the same position they now hold in the overall race standings.
Not far behind in eighth place was the MINI John Cooper Works Rally (#307) of Orlando Terranova (ARG) and Bernardo Graue (ARG). Directly behind them with less than a minute in time difference was the pairing of Mikko Hirvonen (FIN) / Andreas Schulz (DEU) in their MINI John Cooper Works Buggy (#305). Completing just outside of the top ten in 12th place was fellow MINI crew Boris Garafulic (CHI) and co-driver Filipe Palmeiro (POR).
MINI Family reports: Stage 10
Stage 11, Belen-Chilecito, is the next stage and consists of 747km total distance. For more information about Dakar 2018, please visit the host’s event home page here.
Dakar Rally 2018: MINI standings after Stage 10