Published on January 10th, 2015 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez0
MINI continues strong in Dakar Rally
2 days have passed since our last report on the progress of the MINI Dakar Rally team. Having just complicated the 6th stage of the rally, we can look back and track how the MINI contingent has fared through these tough conditions.
By the end of the 6th stage, rally leader Nasser Al-Attiyah had managed to stretch his lead over second place to a neat 11 minutes and 12 seconds. This comes despite only finishing third over the course of the fifth stage, with first place being taken by fellow MINI ALL4 teammate Vladimir Vasilyev and co-driver Konstantin Zhiltsov. The fifth stage took place over 458 kilometers of loose gravel and fine sand, effectively traversing the Atacama Desert. A test of navigational skill, Al-Attiyah was putting on a solid show before suffering a flat tyre with only 10 kilometres to go.
For the Dakar Rally, crews are trained to be just as adept at fixing a car as they are at driving it. Swapping out the busted tyre for one of the three spare tyres a Dakar car is allowed to carry took a mere 1 minute and 35 seconds, allowing Al-Attiyah to continue without bleeding much time and losing his lead.
The sixth stage was a little shorter in length, but focused more on technical driving. Fast gravel roads followed by sandy dunes made for two very distinct paces and required very different driving skillsets. Once again the MINI contingent achieved impressive results, taking both 1st and 3rd place for the stage.
This weekend sees one of the harsher stages in the Dakar rally, being two consecutive stages without technical support. The upcoming stage takes the Dakar rally back up into the mountains, on 321 kilometers of winding roads to a plateau at 3900 meters.