- Yazeed Al-Rajhi in the leading group
- Two MINI JCW Rally in the top 10 overall
Today’s second stage led the competitors to San Juan de Macrona. Joan Nani Roma and Alex Haro (both ESP) finished a fine second in their MINI John Cooper Works Rally. Yazeed Al-Rajhi (KSA) and Timo Gottschalk (GER) ended the 342-kilometer special stage in fifth place. Jakub Kuba Przygonski (POL) and Tom Colsoul (BEL) struggled with tire issues and came home 13th. Boris Garafulic (CHI) and Filipe Palmeiro (POR) were 18th. Argentinean Orlando Terranova was forced to retire from the stage due to severe back pain.
Roma had two reasons to feel satisfied at the end of his successful day. Last year, it was in this area of dunes that he crashed and was forced to retire from the Dakar. Second place on the stage also propelled him into third place overall. “The stage ended in the same areas as the one, in which I had my crash in 2018,” said Roma. “As such, it was a funny feeling to be at the start today. However, I kept calm and found a very good rhythm – that is the most important thing for me. From a driving point of view, it was easier for us today, as we started from further back and did not have to open the route.”
Al-Rajhi and Gottschalk were also in high spirits when they returned to the bivouac. “We did well today,” said the Saudi. “We caught Vasilyev after 80 kilometers, but it is very difficult to overtake in all the dust. I was then able to pass him in the dunes. We are now fourth overall and fifth is a good starting position for tomorrow morning.”
Kuba, on the other hand, did not have luck on his side today. At the start of the stage, he was twice forced to stop due to a flat tire. “After that, I was afraid that a tire would go on us, and that knocked me out of my rhythm. In the end, however, we did not lose too much time. We are still in touch. We will push hard tomorrow.”
Tomorrow’s stage takes the competitors to Arequipa. In total, 798 kilometers are scheduled, 331 of those against the clock – just slightly fewer than today.