Official News from MINI Motorsport: Nasser Al-Attiyah enjoys a stunning day at the 2013 Dakar, but Stéphane Peterhansel successfully fended off the attacks of the Buggy driver in his MINI ALL4 Racing.
It could hardly get any more exciting. Thursday was a flawless day for Stéphane Peterhansel’s closest rival for the overall lead at the 2013 Dakar Rally. Nasser Al-Attiyah set the fastest time on each section of the sixth leg to secure the stage win. In doing so he gradually ate into Stéphane’s lead in the overall classification until it was down to just 45 seconds shortly before the end of the stage. Then came the final sprint! Everyone in the X-raid Team held their breath as they waited to see who would start day seven of the Dakar leading the car competition.
Then the final times flashed up onto the monitor, and the winner was: Stéphane Peterhansel in the MINI ALL4 Racing. Al-Attiyah was 1:18 minutes back. Although Al-Attiyah was able to play out the weight and performance advantages of his buggy, which were permitted following the organisers’ amendments to the rules that came into force before the start of the Dakar, Stéphane was able to hold his own in the green MINI ALL4 Racing and clocked the second fastest time at the final checkpoints. As such, the battle for the overall lead at the toughest rally in the world is more open than ever. Dakar fans have more thrilling days ahead of them.
Roma in the sand, Novitskiy consistent
Yesterday’s winner Nani Roma benefitted from the time he made good on Wednesday’s fifth stage. Although the Spaniard in the yellow MINI ALL4 Racing got stuck in the fine dune sand 75 kilometres into the stage, losing valuable time in the process, he only dropped two places in the standings. Nani starts Friday at the Dakar from seventh place, just 14:26 minutes off the top five. Leonid Novitskiy in the orange MINI, on the other hand, is still among the top five drivers in the field. His consistent performance on Thursday saw him maintain his fourth place.
The highest and fastest special stage of the whole rally awaits the competitors on Friday. Almost the entire route of the special stage is at more than 3,400 metres above sea level. The organisers estimate the average speed at over 110 km/h. The route is dominated by long straights and a hard surface as it makes its way towards the finish in Salta. 218 kilometres are against the clock. It all gets underway at 12:51 local time in Chile. As always, you can find all the latest information at Twitter.com/MINImotorsport and Facebook.com/MINImotorsport.com.
Top 5 (after Stage 6):
3. de Villiers