Dakar Day 6: Official rest day & halfway point review from MINI JCW
|• Stéphane Peterhansel and his MINI John Cooper Works Buggy retain second place overall after Stage 5.|
|• Six MINI crews finish Stage 5 before Dakar officials stop the race due to severe fog.|
|• Five MINI crews inside the top ten after first five stages of Dakar.|
|• Today’s official rest day allows competitors time to recharge, reflect and prepare for the week ahead.|
At the end of Stage 5, the halfway point of Dakar 2019, Stéphane Peterhansel (FRA) and co-driver David Castera (FRA) in a MINI John Cooper Works Buggy finished in fourth to maintain second place in the overall rankings. To actually have completed Stage 5 was a result in itself because only 19 competitors in the Auto category crossed the stage finish point before Dakar officials stopped the race due to severe fog.
Stage 5 started after an official overnight Marathon event where the competing crews are separated from their support teams and have to carry out important service work to their vehicles without any assistance. This means the crews will have not only endured a full day’s racing but the rigours of working late into the night.
The start of Friday’s Stage 5 was delayed due to fog that kept the safety helicopters grounded until good visibility over distance returned. The fog subsided but returned later in the day and played havoc with all competitors while driving across bad terrain, which included the dreaded dust-like sand known as ‘fesh-fesh’.
Despite problems such as punctures, heavy impacts with rocks and getting stuck in fesh-fesh, six of the MINI crews managed to complete the stage before it was stopped. Unfortunately, the MINI John Cooper Works Rally crew of Yazeed Al-Rajhi (KSA) and co-pilot Timo Gottschalk (GER), were one of the many who didn’t complete and now await official confirmation of final placing.
Today’s rest day couldn’t have come at a better time. After five stages of tortuous terrain, all the MINI crews are recharging their bodies via appointments with physio specialists and relaxation. Meanwhile, their vehicles will once again be thoroughly serviced by X-raid, MINI Motorsport’s motorsport partner.
Sunday 13th January will see Dakar 2019 resume with Stage 6, when the competitors leave today’s comforts in Arequipa to race to San Juan de Marcona.
“So far, there have been some good and some bad points. The positives are we are still in second place and David Castera is doing a really a good job as co-driver; in five days we never lose the tracks. The negative point is I make too many mistakes – the second day and yesterday we got stuck and lost a lot of time.”
“We know how hard it can be in Peru and expect the second week to be harder than the first. Anyway, we are here now and happy for the rest day even though so far it is has not been so perfect.”
“It has been a really good week and we are happy that we could fight with the Dakar legends. Our MINI John Cooper Rally is really good and we have had no big issues. Tom and I are cooperating really well. We are a little tired but we have some rest today and then we start the second part full of power and, for sure, push more and more.”
“The car has really good performance; chassis, suspension and engine. It was not the week expected of me. Every day we have stories of problems but… this is Dakar.”
Dakar Rally 2019: MINI standings after Stage 5