Al-Attiyah and Hirvonen fourth and fifth in the overall standings
Today’s seventh stage represents the end of the first week of the 2016 Dakar. On the way from Uyuni, Bolivia to Salta, Argentina, the drivers had to cover more than 800 kilometres, including a 481-kilometre special stage. And Nasser Al-Attiyah (QAT) / Mathieu Baumel (FRA) succeeded in splitting the leading Peugeot trio. “It was a good day without any problems but we just haven’t got the pace it takes to match the Peugeots. I will try to defend my fourth position and then let’s see what we will be able to achieve in the second week.” Mikko Hirvonen (FIN) and Michel Périn (FRA) once again delivered in consistent style and finished fifth.
For Dakar rookie Hirvonen, the first week of his Dakar debut is over and he currently holds the very fine fifth position in the overall standings. “Due to being split in two parts, today’s special stage didn’t feel that long. Only the street sections seemed to never end,” revealed the Finn. “The navigation was very difficult at times, today, but Michel did a great job. Our cooperation is really good. The first week is over and I’m really happy with our position.”
For Roma, however, it’s the first Dakar he contests with his new navigator Haro, he already contested some Spanish Rally Championship rounds with – but not too many off-road rallies. “We made a good start into the first part,” said the Catalan. “Not perfect but good! And the second part went really well. “However, Alex and I realised by now that we are not yet perfectly attuned to one another in off road sections. We have to learn to better communicate when it comes to the navigation. Driving really fast and teaching somebody at the same time is somewhat difficult. But in consideration of his short time in off-road rallying he does a great job. And on the special stages resembling WRC stages everything is perfect as we have been cooperating in these conditions for quite a while.”