•Al Rajhi returns to form with 4th place stage finish
•Terranova completes today’s stage in 5th; now 6th overall
•Garafulic now in 7th place overall; Przygonski 8th
Munich. After another cancelled leg of the route (Stage 9) yesterday, racing resumed at the 2017 Dakar today as the competitors departed from Chilecito to complete 751 more gruelling kilometres to reach the Stage 10 end at San Juan. With just two more legs of the race to go after today’s stage, all drivers are pushing hard to achieve a strong overall finish. It was Yazeed Al Rajhi (KSA) and co-driver Timo Gottschalk (DEU) in the #306 MINI John Cooper Works Rally car that came to the fore today, challenging the frontrunners and finishing 4th in the stage.
Al Rajhi’s provisional overall place in the standings is now 31st but this is subject to appeal after the Saudi driver withdrew from the race in an earlier stage due to severe altitude sickness. Having recovered, he is now attacking each stage with the aim of climbing back up the eventual ranking.
Al Rajhi: “It was a good day for us. I tried to push hard and we got 4th, which is good because we didn’t take any risks. The track was very bumpy, a lot of river beds, it was offiste and a lot of difficult roads.”
Just one place behind Al Rajhi in today’s stage was the #308 MINI John Cooper Works Rally car of Orlando Terranova (ARG) and Andreas Schulz (GER). The pair continued to show consistency with another solid performance, securing 5th in Stage 10 to move up another place in the overall standings to 6th.
Terranova: “Today’s stage was nice. It was very difficult navigation and it was difficult to the find the way in the first river, but we tried to push and the car worked perfect.”
Mikko Hirvonen (FIN) and Michel Perin (FRA), who have, to date, been the most dominant of the MINI family in this year’s Dakar, faced a difficult day in the #303 MINI John Cooper Works Rally. A collision with a truck during today’s stage was just one of many difficulties that saw the pair lose significant time, but they battled on, and finished the stage in 37th to drop to 15th overall.
“A lot happened today,” said Hirvonen. “We got punctures, lost and also stuck for an hour. After all that trouble we were following two trucks, when one of the trucks passed the other. The slower one got in his dust and went off. We were coming slowly but he was still halfway on the road and we hit his rear. There was no real damage but we could not reverse and the truck didn’t see us when he reversed – he doubled our bonnet and broke the radiator. We were fixing that for like one and half hour. Finally, we are here!”
Boris Garafulic (ARG) and co-driver Filipe Palmeiro (POR) were in the first MINI ALL4 Racing car to finish the stage. The #314 car finished 11th today to move up to 7th place in the overall standings.
Garafulic: “Today was good but it was demanding, very hard with a lot of hills. It was a very long day, 42 degrees and 11 hours, so we suffered a lot but it was good. Filipe was great today; he was a very big part of the result in how hard he tried to not make any navigation mistakes. So happy! ”
The next MINI to complete today’s challenge was the #322 MINI ALL4 RACING driven by Mohamed Abu Issa (QAT) with support from co-driver Xavier Panseri (FRA).
Abu Issa: “The stage was very good; it was quite difficult. It was very rocky in the beginning but we were trying to keep pace, it was very dusty from the trucks too but overall it was not a bad day. The second part of the stage was very fast and I think we did okay.”
Stephan Schott (GER) and Paulo Fiuza (POR) also completed Stage 10, finishing in 17th place to secure 16th overall.
It was a difficult stage for Jakub Przygonski (POL) and Tom Colsoul (BEL) in the #316 MINI ALL4 Racing car. Navigational difficulties saw the pair finish the stage in 24th place but they have maintained a top ten place with 8th position .0.
Sylvio de Barros (BR) and Rafael Capoani (BR) completed the stage in 29th. They are now 19th overall.
2017 Dakar Rally: MINI Family standings overall after Stage 10.
Orlando Terranova (ARG)
Andreas Schulz (GER)
Boris Garafulic (CHL)
Filipe Palmeiro (POR)
Jakub Przygonski (POL)
Tom Colsoul (BEL)
Mohamed Abu Issa (QAT)
Xavier Panseri (FRA)
Mikko Hirvonen (FIN)
Michel Périn (FRA)
Stephan Schott (GER)
Paulo Fiuza (POR)
Sylvio de Barros (BR)
Rafael Capoani (BR)
Yazeed Al Rajhi (KSA)
Timo Gottschalk (DEU)