- Five X-raid cars in the top 10
- Still plenty of work to do on the rest day
The first half of the 2019 Dakar is over: the crews have five of the ten stages and a total of 3,060 kilometres behind them. X-raid can take stock of what has been a solid team performance across the board. Two MINI John Cooper Works Buggies and three MINI John Cooper Works Rally are currently in the top ten of the overall standings. Those positions will remain the same today, as there is no special stage on the rest day.
However, “rest day” is actually the wrong term for the Saturday at the Dakar, as participants are not really able to rest. The race cars must be stripped down completely, given a thorough check and prepared for the second half of the race. The mechanics already started this work as soon as the cars arrived yesterday evening.
The drivers and co-drivers do their best to relax a little on the rest day. However, there is no chance of them putting their feet up and doing nothing. Journalists are hungry for interviews and sponsors like to use the rest day to visit the teams in the bivouac. For example, 30 guests of Primax popped into the X-raid service park to watch the mechanics at work. The co-drivers must also prepare the road books for the sixth special stage.
Everyone is waiting in great suspense to see what week two of the Dakar brings with it. Many are expecting it to be even tougher.
Stéphane Peterhansel – MINI JCW Rally:“There were good points and bad points to come out of the first week. The best thing is that we are currently lying second overall. Plus, David did a very good job. Five days, and we have never gone the wrong way. On the negative side, however, I have made too many mistakes.”
Jakub Kuba Przygonski – MINI JCW Rally:“We are pleased to have been able to keep pace with the really big names. After all, I am the youngest here. Our MINI has been very good in the first week. We want to push hard after the rest day. Let’s see what we can achieve.”
Joan Nani Roma – MINI JCW Rally:“We knew how tough it would be in Peru. I think the second week will be even more tiring than the first part. It will remain exciting, right through to the finish. Anything can happen, right down to the last day.”
The MINI JCW Buggy and MINI JCW Rally crews have a very early start tomorrow. The first car leaves the bivouac and starts the leg back to Marcona at 03:30. A total of 810 kilometres lie ahead of the drivers – 290 of them against the clock.
Orlando Terranova and Bernardo Ronnie Graue (both ARG) return to the competition with their MINI JCW Rally tomorrow. A new regulation, introduced by the ASO, allows competitors in the car, SxS and truck categories to re-join the race in the second week. However, they do so in their own competition. Terranova had to retire with severe back pains on stage two. “I spent a long time deliberating what I should do,” said Terranova. “I had even booked my flight home already. But I didn’t want to leave without at least giving it another go.”
Stories from outside the car category
As only the competitors are able to help each other at the Dakar, many teams run race trucks loaded with equipment and spare parts. Two of these “big helpers” are there to help the X-raid crews in case of emergency. X-raid co-drivers Paulo Fiuza (POR) and Phillip Baier (GER) are each in a truck. They know the race cars and can perform repairs quickly. One of these trucks helped Carlos Sainz on the third leg, from Marcona to Arequipa. Unfortunately, Fiuza and his crew were not rewarded for their assistance – they rolled shortly after and did not arrive at the bivouac in Arequipa until the following day.