Bulacia and Bustos stand one stage away from impressive Dakar finish in South Racing Ford Ranger

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RÍO CUARTE (ARGENTINA): Marco Bulacia and Claudio Bustos took no risks to conserve their South Racing Ford Ranger and are now only one short timed special stage and a long liaison section away from finishing the 2017 Dakar Rally.

The Bolivian and his Argentinean navigator completed the two sections of the stage between San Juan and Río Cuarte in 22nd position and now hold an unofficial 20th in the overall standings, one place higher than the driver’s finishing position in 2016.

On Thursday evening, Mikko Hirvonen arrived late into the bivouac in San Juan after his on-stage problems and managed to stay ahead of Bulacia in the overall rankings. That meant that the Bolivian started the penultimate special stage of 292km from 22nd position.

The stage was split into two sections of 119km and 173km by a long liaison of 367km and featured a run through the dunes to the east of San Juan and then crossed into the Córdoba Province for more traditional WRC-style flowing tracks through farmland before finishing near the city of Río Cuarte.

Bulacia’s latest generation South Racing Ford Ranger was prepared by Neil Woolridge Motorsport (NWM) with collaboration from South Racing. Bulacia has additional backing from YPFB, Vialco, Hard Rock Santa Cruz, BOA and Ende for his second Dakar with South Racing.

Tomorrow (Friday), is the final day of the Dakar and one South Racing will be hoping to celebrate with Bulacia and Bustos on the finish podium outside the Argentine Automobile Club (ACA) in Buenos Aires.

There is a short liaison to the start of a short 64km special stage before the Dakar caravan treks across Argentina for 786km via Villa Maria, Rosario and Campana to the finish in the capital.