Official News from MINI Motorsport: Stéphane Peterhansel in the MINI ALL4 Racing defends his lead on the twelfth stage of the 2013 Dakar Rally to take a step closer to his eleventh overall victory.
This year’s Dakar Rally has finally moved into its crucial stage, with Saturday deciding the winner of the world’s toughest rally. However, two stages totalling 596 competitive kilometres still remain to be mastered. On Thursday Stéphane Peterhansel, driving the green MINI ALL4 Racing, moved yet another step towards clinching his eleventh career Dakar victory.
The thirteenth day of the rally led the competitors back into Chile from Argentina via a route totalling 715 kilometres between Fiambalá and Copiapó, with 319km making up the day’s competitive section. After Wednesday’s stage was curtailed after torrential flooding forced the stage to be scored as at the first checkpoint, Stéphane started the day in sixth place. However, the Frenchman quickly got into his stride, mastering the stage without problems.
The day was not, though, a cakewalk: The first part of the stage took in the 4700 metres Paso de San Francisco over the Andes, the very section which had been cancelled in 2012 due to heavy snow falls. Thereafter the route was rough and rocky before reaching the extended dunes of the Atacama Desert, familiar to the competitors from this year’s opening week.
Three MINI ALL4 Racing in the Top 5. Stéphane X-raid Team team-mates, Nani Roma and Leonid Novistkiy, put in equally impressive performances. On Wednesday Leonid found himself one of the victims of the floods: Strong rain caused the rivers to overflow, with a host of drivers needing to be rescued from the resultant mud. However, Leonid managed to continue in the orange MINI ALL4 Racing, and currently occupies fourth place overall.
Nani finds himself in an even better position: The Spaniard now lies third, ahead of Leonid. Friday’s schedule features the penultimate stage, which takes the Dakar entourage from Copiapó to La Serena via a tricky desert route. The fine sand hides jagged rocks, contact with which can quickly spell immediate retirement.
The 13th stage starts at 12:18 local Chilean time. The latest news is available on Twitter.com/MINImotorsport and Facebook.com/MINImotorsport.
Top 5 (after stage 12):
2. de Villiers