FRIDAY, JANUARY 11, 2013
DAKAR UPDATE: STAGE SIX
AUSSIE ISUZU TEAM IN SLOW AND STEADY DAKAR CLIMB
High altitudes and a long, hard day have played havoc with the 2013 Dakar Rally competitors, but the Australian Isuzu Motorsports crews are edging steadily through the field.
Stage Six was the longest in the rally so far, taking competitors from Arica on the coast of Chile through to Calama, gateway to the Atacama Desert, in Northern Chile. A long day totalling 746km, of which 438km was the timed special stage. All of this to be tackled on two hours’ less sleep, after an overnight time change of two hours between Peru and Chile, which is 14 hours behind Australia (AEDT)
Garland and Suzuki (2012 Isuzu D-MAX; car 330) have gained five places overall on yesterday, to sit in 42nd outright while teammates Adrian Di Lallo and Steve Riley (Red Earth Motorsport, Isuzu D-MAX; car 439) are just behind them, in 44th place overall
“We had a bit of a problem with one of the front CV joints so we decided to stop and change it in the dunes,” Garland says.
“While we were working, one of the choppers flew in low and bombarded us with dust and sand, which wasn’t much fun – although we might make it on TV!
“Once we got into the bivouac we did some work on the front end and otherwise just a general service. For a brand-new car, with a lot of new components to test, it is standing up to the punishment really well.
“We started the big climb today into the Andes and got up to about 3000m. You do feel it, especially because we didn’t get as much sleep. There was a time change between Peru and Chile so we had two hours’ less sleep – but everyone was in the same boat.
“Tomorrow we go as high as 5000m. We did some acclimatising before the event started but both cars and drivers struggle with those altitudes so it will be interesting to see how we end up. There’s still a long way to go and a lot of people who are pushing themselves and their cars too hard to sustain it. Slowly, slowly, catchy monkey is the way to play the game in this event.”
Tomorrow, Stage Seven, the climb through the Andes Cordillera will be in the early hours, taking the teams in convoy for a liaison stage finishing at a record altitude of 4975m, at the top of Argentina’s highest mountain pass. During the special stage, the needle of the altimeter will fluctuate between 3400m and 4000m, but the speedometer will rarely go below 100km/h, despite the lack of power, which will affect all the vehicles.
The bivouac will be in northwestern Argentina, in the city of Salta, 1152m above sea level in the foothills of the Andes, famous for its well-preserved colonial architecture and wonderful scenery.
A popular tourist destination, it is located in what was the southernmost region of the Inca empire. Founded in 1582 by Spanish conquistador Hernando de Lerma, it’s probably the most Spanish city in Argentina in appearance but the local culture is a blend of Spanish and gaucho.
The 2013 Dakar Rally finishes in Santiago, Chile, on Sunday, January 20. This year’s rest day falls after Stage Eight.
Based in Sydney, Australia, Isuzu Motorsports International Off-Road Racing Team is the motor racing operation of Bruce Garland Motorsports and Harry Suzuki, owner of Isuzu Motorsports. Isuzu D-MAX cars built and prepared by Bruce Garland Motorsports and Harry Suzuki have competed and succeeded in both rally and off-road events around the world.
Overall result after six stages:
1. Stéphane Peterhansel/Jean-Paul Cottret – Mini All4: 14h 36m 16s
2. Nasser Al-Attiyah/Lucas Cruz – Demon Jefferies Buggy: 14h 37m 34s
3. Giniel De Villiers/Dirk Von Zitzewitz – Toyota HiLux: 15h 18m 47s
4. Leonid Novitskiy/Konstantin Zhiltsov – Mini All4: 15h 21m 03s
5. Guerlain Chicherit/Jean-Pierre Garcin – SMG Buggy: 15h 52m 42s
42. Garland/Suzuki – Isuzu D-MAX: 24h 17m 59s
44. Di Lallo/Riley – Isuzu D-MAX: 24h 53m 41s
Liz Swanton │Media Liaison
Isuzu Motorsports / Garland Motorsports
Telephone │ 02 9771 1277 │ International │+ 61 2 9771 1277
Mobile │ 0417 232 643 │ International + 61 417 232 643
Email │[email protected]│Website │www.writerpr.com.au