Antofagasta, Chile (January 8, 2010) – Today marked the longest special of the grueling 14 stage Dakar Rally for Team HUMMER. Measuring in at 641 km, the special was made even more difficult by the varied terrain that competitors had to race across. As competitors travelled from Antofagasta to Iquique they encountered everything from areas of fast off-track, to slow track, to windy track and even a salar. Stage 7, which was expected to take competitors around seven hours to complete, was filled with magnificent views of the Chilean landscape. Drivers were challenged early in the day as they crossed over sand dunes. However, the most demanding part of the stage came when competitors had to cross the salar. The salar, which spans 3 km, is an area filled with huge blocks of dry salt that requires competitors to slow their speed to under 10 km/h. Once competitors made it past this portion of the stage, it was mostly fast, open track to the finish line.
What seemed to be a great start for Robby Gordon and his Monster Energy / Toyo Tires HUMMER ended in heartbreak. Gordon led the stage through the halfway point before an alternator failure crippled his HUMMER on the course, crushing his hope for another stage win. Once the No. 302 was back on course, he finished the stage in 24th place and dropped to 10th in the overall standings.
“We started off with a really good run. By the start of the second liaison, I motored by two cars and was about the fifth car on the road. I saw low voltage on the dash and switched back and forth between batteries for about 120k before the Monster Energy / Toyo Tires HUMMER finally stopped running. We had to wait a long time for a replacement, which cost us a lot of time. It’s just a huge bummer. I am ready for tomorrow’s rest day so that we can reevaluate and strategize for the rest of the race. Our plan is to come on strong for the final stages and make up as much ground as possible.”
Race Coverage – For fans tracking the Dakar Rally at home, please visit robbygordon.com, planetrobby.com, and Robby Gordon’s twitter page for daily updates on the team’s performance including a daily recap, photos and videos. Versus will provide coverage throughout the United States. A 30-minute daily program featuring highlights from that day’s racing will be aired on Versus daily at 3:30 p.m. with a replay airing later in the day. The show is set to air daily from January 3rd through January 18th, check your local listing for exact show times. A 60-minute recap show featuring all fourteen stages will air on Versus on Sunday, January 24th at 3:00 p.m.