Eight Mini ALL4 Racing in the top 20
The second part of the marathon stage took the squads not only to Uyuni but also to an altitude of 4,600 metres above sea level. Nasser Al Attiyah (QAT) / Mathieu Baumel (FRA), Mikko Hirvonen (FIN) / Michel Périn (FRA) and Orlando Terranova / Ronnie Graue (both ARG) secured top-10 positions, in the fifth stage, with Nani Roma / Alex Haro (both ESP) coming 11th.
Al-Attiyah again was the fastest MINI ALL4 Racing driver and finished fourth. He completed the stage without having to cope with any problems and only the Peugeots were able to beat him on the fast track. “We gave our very best but following the buggies was anything but easy. Nonetheless, I’m happy with our achievements. On this terrain, the Peugeots are just too fast. Tomorrow is an important day as we will have to contest the longest special stage of the event.”
Mikko Hirvonen lost time due to a damaged tyre but was delivered, nevertheless, and came sixth. “In addition, we had to race for several kilometres in the dust of de Villiers, otherwise we certainly would have been two or three minutes faster. Furthermore, I was more self-confident today. I learning more every single day,” revealed the Finn. “I hadn’t any problems with the altitude but changing a tyre at 3,500 metres above sea level is really exhausting. Today’s special stage was the one I enjoyed most in the Dakar so far.”
Orlando Terranova finished 10th. “It was a nice stage with beautiful landscapes,” said the Argentinean. “We were able to close the gap to Nani but a short time later I got a rather heavy headache. I tried to push, nevertheless, but it was difficult.”
Nani Roma also had headache due to the altitude, nonetheless, he finished 11th. “Yesterday I had absolutely no problems with the altitude but today I felt really sick,” admitted the Spaniard. “Therefore, the first kilometres went really bad for us. I couldn’t find my rhythm and also couldn’t sense the car. In the closing stages I felt better and was able to push again.”
Tomorrow, the Dakar schedule features the longest special stage of the 2016 edition, with the crews having to cover 542 timed kilometres. In addition, they still will be racing in altitudes between 3,500 and 4,200 metres. The track will be partially sandy and partially rocky.