Published on January 13th, 2016 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez0
MINI stays in top 5 for Dakar
Once again the weather conditions determined the result of a Dakar special stage. In the opening week, very early on, rain put paid to many a competitor’s Dakar challenge. But today’s weather in the Belen-Belen stage proved to be the opposite extreme in the desert arena. With competitors in the bike classes having problems with the severe desert floor heat, Dakar officials made the decision to stop the race at CP2 for safety reasons. The result for Stage 9 was determined by the best time at CP2. For early flyers Erik van Loon (NLD) and Wouter Rosegaar (NLD) in the Van Loon Racing (#306) MINI ALL4 Racing, this gave them their best result so far this Dakar with a stage finish of second. This result now has the Dutch duo currently in eighth in the overall top ten.
Less than seven seconds behind Erik van Loon and in third position was a recharged Mikko Hirvonen (FIN) who, with co-driver Michel Périn (FRA) by his side, was already pushing hard in his AXION X-raid team MINI ALL4 Racing (#315). Today’s result sees Hirvonen maintain fourth overall. Nasser Al-Attiyah (QAT) and co-pilot Mathieu Baumel (FRA) also made good of their early start position and looked to be set to repeat yesterday’s stage win. Unfortunately, as with the best laid plans, the early stage finish saw the leading AXION X-raid Team (#300) pass through CP2 in fifth, which stood as the stage result. Despite the stage shortness, Al-Attiyah retains third in the race standings.
Joan ‘Nani’ Roma (ESP) and Alex Haro (ESP) also fell victim to the shortened race. The stage result of 12th now has the AXION X-raid Team crew (#304) lying in ninth after 11 hard days of Dakar. The early stage finish also meant the crew of Orlando Terranova (ARG) and co-driver Bernardo ‘Ronnie’ Graue (ARG) from AXION X-raid Team (#310) couldn’t capitalise on their desert experience to greatly reduce the overall time variation. They were ninth at today’s stage end to place them 14th overall. Great Britain’s Harry Hunt has had an amazing first Dakar. His pairing with Andreas Schulz (GER) has proven to be a good one, resulting in consistent stage results. In their X-raid Team MINI ALL4 Racing (#323), they are presently in 12th, the second highest placed MINI ALL4 Racing privateer. But today proved to be the toughest day.
The ORLEN Team (#327) crew of Jakub ‘Kuba’ Przygonski (POL) Andrei Rudnitski (BLR) continue to battle it out in the upper sphere of the top 20. At present they are in 17th but have the target of a top fifteen finish in sight. “Never give up” seems to be the motto of all the MINI ALL4 Racing crews. The #351 X-raid Team duo of Nazareno Lopez (ARG) / Sergio Lafuente (URU) are still chasing hard for positions – as are Adam Malysz (POL) and co-driver Xavier Panseri (FRA) in MINI ALL4 Racing #325 (ORLEN Team). Both crews have had more than their share of the Dakar’s bad luck at this year’s event and continue to strive for glory.
2016 Dakar Rally: Day 11, Stage 9, Belén – Belén . MINI ALL 4 Racing standings:
|3||Nasser Al-Attiyah (QAT)||Mathieu Baumel (FRA)||300||AXION X-raid Team||028:54:02|
|4||Mikko Hirvonen (FIN)||Michel Périn (FRA)||315||AXION X-raid Team||029:14:14|
|Erik van Loon (NDL)||Wouter Rosegaar (NDL)||306||Van Loon Racing||030:07:29|
|9||Joan ‘Nani’ Roma (ESP)||Alex Haro (ESP)||304||AXION X-raid Team||030:22:19|
|12||Harry Hunt (GB)||Andreas Schulz (GER)||323||X-raid Team||030:40:43|
|14||Orlando Terranova (ARG)||Bernardo ‘Ronnie’ Graue (ARG)||310||AXION X-raid Team||30:57:40|
|17||Jakub ‘Kuba’ Przygonski (POL)||Andrei Rudnitski (BLR)||327||ORLEN Team||032:03:26|
|18||Boris Garafulic (CHL)||Filipe Palmeiro (POR)||313||X-raid Team||028:28:15|
|32 (TBC)||Nazareno Lopez (ARG)||Sergio Lafuente (URU)||351||X-raid Team||046:18:29|
|TBA||Adam Malysz (POL)||Xavier Panseri (FRA)||325||ORLEN Team||TBA|