DAKAR A FULL 2015
Al-Attiyah stretches his advantage.
9 January 2015
Thursday, January 8, 2015
Another day and another stage completed in the lead of the Dakar Rally – the most challenging rally raid event in the world – for Qatar Rally Team driver Nasser Al-Attiyah.
This is the fourth straight day that the Qatari driver has held the lead, through an extremely wide variety of road and weather conditions on each occasion. The defining characteristic of today’s 458-kilometre stage in Chile was the abundance of fesh-fesh: fine powdery sand that can easily cause cars to become bogged down. Because of that, both navigation and driving skill is paramount to avoid falling into yet another of the insidious traps that the Dakar regularly lays for its competitors.
As he won the stage yesterday, Nasser was first on the road today and co-driver Matthieu Baumel was on top of his game to guide the duo over the featureless terrain of the Atacama Desert. But having started the day with a lead of more than eight minutes, Nasser knew that there was no need to push to the maximum today, meaning that he could look at the bigger picture and manage his pace. He ended the stage fourth, three and half minutes behind the stage winner, but actually stretched his overall lead to more than 10 minutes over Giniel De Villiers, who dropped time on the stage.
“The stage was really hard – not easy – with a lot of fesh-fesh,” said the Qatari, who also happens to be an Olympic medallist at skeet shooting. “In the last 10 kilometres we got a flat tyre, so then we changed the wheel, it only took us 1m35s which is quite fast. I’m quite happy to finish the day with just one puncture and without any trouble with the car. I’m glad I did not win the stage, because tomorrow will be very difficult and I would like someone else other than Matthieu and myself to open the road.”
Tomorrow is one of the most spectacular days of the event, as the competitors make their way up the Pacific coast towards Iquique, with spectacular views over the ocean. Not that the drivers will have time to admire it, as they will be tackling a 186-kilometre stage, consisting mainly of fast gravel tracks. For the first time, the location hosting the halfway point in the rally will mark the arrival of the crews with a podium ceremony in the city centre.
So already Nasser is beginning to consider the second half of the event. “I need to think a lot next week because we also have the marathon stage,” he concluded. “I don’t know what it will be like, but we are going day by day. Our plan is to win the race: we are leading and we’ll just try to keep going like this.”
Stay up-to-date with the Qatar Rally Team at redbull.com/dakar, as they look to pick up some serious speed in motorsport’s ultimate test of endurance racing.
Results of SS5:
1. Vladimir Vasilyev (RUS)/Konstantin Zhiltsov (RUS) Mini 4hr 19min 18sec
2. Yazeed Al-Rahji (SAU)/Timo Gottschalk (D) Toyota +20sec
3. Robby Gordon (USA)/Johnny Campbell (USA) Gordini +1min 25sec
4. Nasser Al-Attiyah (QAT)/Matthieu Baumel (F) Qatar Rally Team +3min 24sec
5. Stéphane Peterhansel (F)/J-P Cottret (F) Team Peugeot-Total +4min 04sec
Results after SS5:
1. Nasser Al-Attiyah (QAT)/Matthieu Baumel (F) Qatar Rally Team 16hr 53min 26sec
2. Giniel de Villiers (RSA)/Dirk von Zitzewitz (D) Toyota All Speed +10min 35sec
3. Yazeed Al-Rahji (SAU)/Timo Gottschalk (D) Toyota +20min 29sec
4. Krzysztof Holowczyc (PL)/Xavier Panseri (F) Mini +48min 55sec
5. Erik van Loon (NL)/Wouter Roesegar (NL) Mini +53min 25sec
6. Bernhard Ten Brinke (NL)/Tom Colsoul (B) Toyota +56min 19sec
7. Vladimir Vasilyev (RUS)/Konstantin Zhiltsov (RUS) Mini +1hr09min52sec
8. Christian Lavieille (F)/Pascal Maimon (F) Toyota +1hr13min 59sec
9. Stéphane Peterhansel (F)/J-P Cottret (F) Team Peugeot-Total +1hr 19min 17sec
10. Aidyn Rakhimbayev (KAZ)/Anton Nikolaev (KAZ) Mini +1hr 21min 32sec
Qatar Red Bull Rally Team
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