Six Overdrive and Toyota Gazoo Raxing Hiluxes firmly on course for Dakar Rally finishes
RIO CUARTE (ARGENTINA) – Friday, January 13: There were no Friday the 13th gremlins and Overdrive Racing and Toyota Gazoo Racing South Africa will take six of their original eight Toyota Hiluxes into the final special stage of the 2017 Dakar Rally after all the crews safely negotiated the 292km of competitive action between San Juan and Río Cuarte in Argentina.
Joan Roma and navigator Alex Haro dropped eight minutes to team-mate De Villiers through the early kilometres, but were safe in fourth overall. The Spanish crew took no risks through the last kilometres and maintained their position.
Toyota Gazoo Racing South Africa’s Giniel de Villiers and Dirk von Zitzewitz began the day in a comfortable fifth and were fifth fastest through the first section of the special. They went on to record the fourth quickest time and hold fifth place by just 2min 03sec heading into the final day.
Toyota rookie Rautenbach enters the overall top 10
Zimbabwean Conrad Rautenbach and his South African co-driver Robert Howie were seventh through the first 119km and the dunes around San Juan in the second of the Toyota Gazoo Racing Hiluxes. They continued their impressive pace to the finish and the eighth quickest time enabled the Dakar first-timer to climb into ninth place in the overall standings for the first time.
The Dutch crew of Erik van Loon and Wouter Rosegaar were pushed down to 16th overall at the start of the 11th stage after Finland’s Mikko Hirvonen recovered from his delays into San Juan and completed the stage. Van Loon enjoyed a strong run through section one in eighth place and finished the stage in an impressive seventh to move up to 14th overall.
Alejandro Yacopini and Daniel Merlo began the day in 21st overall in their Overdrive Racing Toyota Hilux. They were running 18th after the shorter opening section of the special and a strong performance lifted them into the top 20.
The Chinese crew of He Zhitao and Kai Zhao reached San Juan in 35th overall in their Boundless Yong Racing Toyota run by Overdrive Racing and safely negotiated section one of the stage. They were 38th at WP5 and firmly on course for the finish at 23.35 CET.
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