- Carlos Sainz in third place
- Peterhansel closes in on Al-Attiyah
After yesterday’s bad luck, Stéphane Peterhansel and David Castera (both FRA) both enjoyed a trouble-free day. They secured their second daily win at this Dakar, moving around eleven minutes closer to the leading driver Nasser Al-Attiyah. The two Spaniards Carlos Sainz and Lucas Cruz crossed the line in third place. Their team-mates from France, Cyril Despres and Jean-Paul Cottret, reached fifth position.
However, despite posting the fastest time to reach today’s finish, Peterhansel is not entirely pleased with how his day went. “We jumped over a dune and had a very hard landing – I saw a few stars then,” reports Peterhansel. “But I was still able to concentrate on continuing and managed to catch a few of my competitors. It was a good result, but not a perfect day. There is still quite a gap between me and Nasser.” Sebastien Loeb suffered technical problems, which allowed Peterhansel to reclaim second place in the overall standings.
Sainz and Cruz displayed real team spirit today. Just after the start, they waited for Peterhansel so that they would be able to support him if required. “We waited for Stéphane for nine minutes,” says Sainz. “Apart from a few minor issues, we had a very good day. The stage itself was pretty tough.”
Despres also had an eye on Peterhansel and was in good form until the final section of the special stage. “We were driving on a lot of sandy stretches, with dunes and sandy valleys. The MINI worked very well under these conditions,” explains Despres. “That is why it wasn’t as tough for us as it will be for many others. A tire came off the rim on a downhill section and we had to change it in soft sand. That was not such a simple task. Unfortunately, we lost a few minutes searching for a waypoint and we had to fight our way through a sandstorm over the final 40 kilometers. I can hardly remember a day without some sort of problems.”
All three MINI JCW Buggy crews have qualified for the Super-Ica early tomorrow morning. This sees the ten fastest motorbikes and cars, and the five fastest trucks, starting before the rest of the field.