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2016 Dakar Rally – Day 12, Stage 10: Al-Attiyah moves up to second overall. Four MINI ALL4 Racing now placed in the top ten.

The Fiambala dune section proves once again why it is the most notorious stage of the Dakar Rally.

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Munich. Day 12 proved to be a “a hard day in the office” for many, many competitors including the MINI ALL4 Racing family.

 

Nasser Al-Attiyah (QAT) moved to second place overall behind leader Peterhansel despite a difficult day. This brilliant result came about after a marvellous recovery from an incident early in the Special Stage. One of the many victims of the sandy and rocky conditions, the crew of AXION X-raid Team (#300) MINI ALL4 Racing crashed heavily.

 

Fortunately, the two men were uninjured and the strength of the MINI ALL4 Racing chassis and components meant the determined duo could carry on and make up for lost time. Even though race distance was shortened due to a swollen water crossing, the crew successfully pushed hard and finished 14th.

 

“Today was not an easy day,” said Al-Attiyah. “After five kilometres from the start we crashed and rolled the car. We spent a lot of time getting the MINI ALL4 Racing back on four wheels and checking everything is ok. Afterwards we then go easy all the way but still we got a little lost. It wasn’t easy in the soft sand and we lost 20 minutes at one point when we got stuck. Still, we are now in second place and there are more days to come before the end of Dakar.”

 

Highest placed MINI ALL4 Racing at the end of Stage 10 was the #304 MINI ALL4 Racing of AXION X-raid Team crew of Joan ‘Nani’ Roma (ESP) and Alex Haro (ESP), who finished fourth. This result sees Roma move up to seventh in the overall standings.

 

Roma: “A really positive day despite it being a hard day for everybody including us – at the beginning I rolled the car and then I lost my windscreen wipers. Alex did a really good job today by keeping us off the main tracks and away from trouble while I tried not to make any more mistakes. A tough day with tough navigation but it is all part of what makes the Dakar.”

 

Another solid racing display came from the pairing of Harry Hunt (GBR) and Andreas Schulz (GER). They finished the incident-filled day by taking their X-raid Team MINI ALL4 Racing (#323) to a creditable eighth at the finish point. This was the second highest placed MINI ALL4 Racing of the stage and means Harry Hunt is now 10th overall.

 

“A very good day,” said an obviously happy Hunt. “This stage is renowned for being difficult and we went into it with an easy, relaxed mind-set. In the first three kilometres we found Nani on his side, so we stopped and pulled him over onto his wheels. We then got lost for five or ten minutes looking for a waypoint, but I think everyone did. We did get stuck later on but only for two minutes or so. For us, no real dramas.”

 

Mikko Hirvonen (FIN) and co-driver Michel Périn (FRA) didn’t have their best day at the Dakar but still managed an incredible result. The ultra-fine fesh-fesh sand proved, once again, to be troublesome as the AXION X-raid Team crew (#315) found out when their MINI ALL4 Racing got stuck. Eventually they managed to dig themselves free to finish the stage in 16th and retain fourth overall.

 

Hirvonen: “We got a little bit lost. And then when we were finding our way back we got badly stuck... for a long time in a bad place. After that we were ok, no big issues. It was a difficult one today. But this is part of the game. Now I realise how difficult navigation can be as well...”

 

Erik van Loon (NLD) and Wouter Rosegaar (NLD) were the leading MINI ALL4 Racing privateers at the start of Stage 10 but were displaced very early into the Special Stage when they rolled their Van Loon Racing (#306) MINI ALL4 Racing. Fortunately, Van Loon managed to make the finish in 43rd place. This result sees the Dutchman slip to 14th overall.

 

Orlando Terranova (ARG) and co-driver Bernardo ‘Ronnie’ Graue (ARG) from AXION X-raid Team (#310) had to settle for 33rd on the day and now sit in 15th overall.

 

ORLEN Team (#327) crew of Jakub ‘Kuba’ Przygonski (POL) Andrei Rudnitski (BLR) continue at a consistent pace in order not to jeopardise their top 20 position. A finish of 26th in the stage keeps them in 17th overall.

 

In 28th position at the finish point was the MINI ALL4 Racing (#313) of Boris Garafulic (CHL) and Filipe Palmeiro (POR). Adam Malysz (POL) and co-driver Xavier Panseri (FRA) in MINI ALL4 Racing #325 (ORLEN Team) continue their fight back and completed the day in 37th. The #351 X-raid Team duo of Nazareno Lopez (ARG) / Sergio Lafuente (URU) also finished the day and in 41st.

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