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Tuesday, 13 January 2015

2015 Dakar Rally: Saudi Arabian Dakar Rally rookie Yazeed al-Rajhi claims debut stage

IQUIQUE, Chile - Toyota's Saudi Arabian Dakar
Rally rookie Yazeed al-Rajhi claimed his maiden
stage win after a spectacular sand-dune finish
to Stage 8 Iquique on Sunday to break Mini's
stranglehold on this year's race.
Nevertheless, as the Toyota driver celebrated
his landmark day on the world's toughest rally,
his Qatari rival and 2011 Dakar winner Nasser
al-Attiyah did enough in his Mini in third to
consolidate his position at the top of the drivers'
standings.
He even gained a few seconds on his closest
pursuer, South Africa's Giniel de Villiers
(Toyota), who finished fourth. Up to this win for
Toyota, each stage had been won by one of the
Minis.
TERRANOVA SECOND
Sunday's 808km run, with 784km timed, took
al-Rajhi and the rest of the car competitors from
Bolivia's high salt flats in Uyuni to the
vertiginous dunes of the Chilean Pacific coastal
city of Iquique.
Al-Rajhi covered the route in three hours, 26
minutes and 49 seconds with Saturday's stage
winner Orlando Terranova second in another
Mini, more than a minute behind.
Al-Attiyah, a further 2min30 back in third, has
an almost 8min30 lead over De Villiers, the
South African in his SA-built Hilux bakkie,
losing precious time in the final dunes on the
approach to Iquique, in the race for the Drivers
crown.
Al-Rajhi, who remains in contention for the
Drivers' crown in third place but 18min40
behind, said: "Today was a good day. "We
drove fast and we had fun. The most difficult
part was organising toilet stops!
"At such altitudes (up to 4000m) just a sip of
water makes you want to go... The in-line start
in Salar was great and carried out under good
conditions. We didn't have the highest top
speed but we managed to catch up with the
others.
"It was a bit like a game."
Terranova described the marathon stage as "an
awesome experience".
Monday (today, Jan 12) is a rest day for the car
drivers ahead of Saturday's (Jan 17) finish in
Buenos Aires. After Saturday's day off for
motorcyclists the 717km (321km timed) Stage 7
which took the two-wheeled competitors from
Iquique to Uyuni was won by Honda's Paulo
Goncalves.
The Portuguese rider is third in the overall
motorbike standings, 11min behind his Spanish
team mate Joan Barreda, with this pair
separated by KTM's defending champion Marc
Coma.
Coma, a four-times winner, is six minutes adrift
back.

Source: Wheels 24 SA

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