Published on January 10th, 2016 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez0
Two MINIs in top 5 positions for Dakar
Three AXION X-raid Team MINI ALL4 Racing finish Stage 7 in the top ten. Hirvonen joins Al-Attiyah inside the top five positions. Van Loon moves up to eleventh as he continues to push for a place inside the top ten. As the first half of the 2016 Dakar comes to a close with the end of stage 7, Nasser Al-Attiyah (QAT) and co-pilot Mathieu Baumel (FRA) hold on to fourth place overall to maintain their position as the leading duo of the MINI ALL4 Racing family. The pair drove tactically and enjoyed a late charge into third place in today’s stage to hold on to their position ahead of the Sunday rest day when all drivers and teams re-group and prepare for the final week of this year’s race.
However, Dakar rookie Mikko Hirvonen (FIN) and co-pilot Michel Perin (FRA) in the AXION X-raid Team MINI ALL4 Racing #315 continue to close in on the experienced pairing. Another good stage for the newcomers saw them improve their position in the overall standings once again, moving into fifth just behind the #300 AXION X-Raid Team MINI ALL4 Racing of Nasser. Hirvonen and Perin are embracing the challenge of their first Dakar together and attributing much of their remarkable success to strong teamwork. Stage 7 was a long day broken down into two separate sections with a liaison in the middle to provide a small reprieve for the drivers, some of who continue to feel the effects of high altitude and tiredness. In addition, bad weather once again posed a threat, with severe thunderstorms curtailing the distance of the bikes stage but with river levels dropping in time the cars were able to complete both stages fully.
The competitors have now moved to Salta in Argentina for a well-earned rest day, which will enable them to organise their attack for the second half of the Dakar, get to grips with the road books and ensure that they and their cars are prepared for what may come in the next week. Dutch crew Erik van Loon and Wouter Rosegaar (Van Loon Racing #306) are perfectly poised to break into the top ten positions in week two, having manoeuvred their way into 11th place overall at the end of stage 7, but competition remains high. The Spanish pairing of Joan ‘Nani’ Roma / Alex Haro (AXION X-raid Team #304) also moved up another place and are now in 12th position.
British driver Harry Hunt and co-pilot Andreas Schulz finished the stage happy, having moved up the overall standings from 15th to 13th in the X-Raid Team MINI ALL4 Racing #323. The progress was made despite suffering a puncture in the second part of the stage. Orlando Terranova (ARG) and co-driver Bernardo ‘Ronnie’ Graue (ARG) had a more difficult day after making huge progress in stage 6, while Jakub ‘Kuba’ Przygonski (POL) / Andrei Rudnitski (BLR) of ORLEN Team (#327) also experienced difficulties. However, both duos and Boris Garafulic (CHL) / Filipe Palmeiro (POR) continue to sit comfortably inside the top 20 with one week of competition still remaining.
2016 Dakar Rally: Day Seven, Stage 7, Uyuni – Uyuni, 723km. MINI ALL 4 Racing standings:
|4||Nasser Al-Attiyah (QAT)||Mathieu Baumel (FRA)||300||AXION X-raid Team||022:04:04|
|5||Mikko Hirvonen (FIN)||Michel Périn (FRA)||315||AXION X-raid Team||022:19:21|
|Erik van Loon (NDL)||Wouter Rosegaar (NDL)||306||Van Loon Racing||023:04:09|
|12||Joan ‘Nani’ Roma (ESP)||Alex Haro (ESP)||304||AXION X-raid Team||023:07:31|
|13||Harry Hunt (GB)||Andreas Schulz (GER)||323||X-raid Team||023:15:28|
|15||Jakub ‘Kuba’ Przygonski (POL)||Andrei Rudnitski (BLR)||327||ORLEN Team||023:37:55|
|16||Boris Garafulic (CHL)||Filipe Palmeiro (POR)||313||X-raid Team||023:44:44|
|17||Orlando Terranova (ARG)||Bernardo “Ronnie” Graue (ARG)||310||AXION X-raid Team||023:47:16|
|75||Nazareno Lopez (ARG)||Sergio Lafuente (URU)||351||X-raid Team||035:59:39|