Racing resumed on Thursday January
12, 2017 at Dakar Rally 2017 with a 449-kilometre stage from Chilecito to San
Juan in Argentina. But then Stéphane Peterhansel’s (Peugeot) collision with
another competitor temporally upset the car rankings. In another incident, biker
Stefan Svitko of Slovnaft Rally Team riding a KTM fell of exhaustion just after
taking third, and Eduard Nikolaev (Kamaz) became the new truck leader. In the Quad category Chilean Ignacio Casale
of Casale Motorsport riding a Yamaha vehicle continued to fight his category
leader Sergey Karyakin of Fores Dakar Team
also riding a Yamaha vehicle.
With only two stages to make
the difference in the general standings, tension ramped up another notch. The
trial-like start to the stage really tested the physical capabilities of the
competitors, at least as much as the hot weather, which made its return to the
race after the cool temperatures at higher altitude. The end of the day was
marked by much quicker tracks, but just as tricky navigation, which led to
dramatic turns of events in the general standings. On Friday, the 11th and
penultimate stage will be raced between San Juan and Rio Cuarto (754 km
including a 288 km special).
On his fourth Dakar, and after
having demonstrated some fine capacities since the start in Asunción, Michael
Metge (Honda) thought he had picked up his first stage victory, by a whisker in
front of his team leader Joan Barreda (Honda). However, in the end, the stage
victory finally went to the Spaniard due to his team-mate missing a way-point
and incurring a penalty. The French duo of Adrien Van Beveren and Xavier de
Soultrait (both riding a Yamaha) suffered big time losses in the general
Frenchman Michael Metge and
Spaniard Joan Barreda took the first two spots, followed by Slovakian Stefan
Svitko who collapsed of exhaustion shortly after the finish line. He was taken
to San Juan hospital.
KTM riders Matthias Walkner
and Sam Sunderland finished respectively in 11th and 13th place, 13'48 and
18'01 behind Metge. Despite a result due to a navigation mistake at the 39th
km, Sunderland is still leading overall.
Stéphane Peterhansel led the
race early on, before his collision with biker Simon Marcic forced him to stop.
The 12-time Dakar winner waited for the medical team with him before resuming
Because of the time
Peterhansel lost assisting the biker, it was Cyril Despres who finished the
first section the fastest, with Sébastien Loeb trailing him by 6'28.
Nine-time WRC champion Loeb
then picked up the pace in the last part of the Special and took what was
thought to be his fourth stage victory this year. Provisional results in San
Juan said Despres finished in second place (+2'33) and Peterhansel in third
(6'45). But their Team Peugeot Total teammate was given back the time lost in
the accident, officially winning Stage 10 ahead of Loeb (+ 07’28) and Despres
With two stages left,
Peterhansel is now 5’50 ahead of Loeb and 25’40 ahead of former bike winner
Despres in the overall standings.
Chilean Ignacio Casale
continued to fight his category leader Sergey Karyakin. The Russian set the
pace, but Casale hung on to eventually concede a little more than 10 minutes to
his rival. There’s now 21’05 separating runner-up Casale and Karyakin.
Having won the truck title in
2013, Eduard Nikolaev of Team Kamaz Master proved he still got it after setting
Thursday’s fastest time. The result sees Nikolaev leapfrog his Kamaz teammate
Dmitry Sotnikov who finished second and now holds the runners-up spot in the
general classification. Ayrat Mardeev came home third to give Kamaz a 1-2-3
BMW MINI: After
another cancelled leg of the route (Stage 9), racing resumed at the 2017 Dakar
as the competitors departed from Chilecito to complete 751 more gruelling
kilometres to reach the Stage 10 end at San Juan. With just two more legs of
the race to go after this stage, all drivers are pushing hard to achieve a
strong overall finish. It was Yazeed Al Rajhi (KSA) and co-driver Timo
Gottschalk (DEU) in the #306 MINI John Cooper Works Rally car that came to the
fore in Stage10, challenging the frontrunners and finishing 4th in the
Al Rajhi’s provisional overall
place in the standings is now 28th but this is subject to appeal after the
Saudi driver withdrew from the race in an earlier stage due to severe altitude
sickness. Having recovered, he is now attacking each stage with the aim of
climbing back up the eventual ranking.
Just one place behind Al Rajhi
in this stage was the #308 MINI John Cooper Works Rally car of Orlando
Terranova (ARG) and Andreas Schulz (GER). The pair continued to show
consistency with another solid performance, securing 5th in Stage 10 to move up
another place in the overall standings to 6th.
Mikko Hirvonen (FIN) and
Michel Perin (FRA), who have, to date, been the most dominant of the MINI
family in this year’s Dakar, faced a difficult day in the #303 MINI John Cooper
Works Rally. A collision with a truck during the stage saw the pair lose
significant time, but they battled on, refusing to give in. They are still
completing the stage.
Boris Garafulic (ARG) and
co-driver Filipe Palmeiro (POR) were in the first MINI ALL4 Racing car to
finish the stage. The #314 car finished 11th to move up to 7th place in the
The next MINI to complete the
challenge was the #322 MINI ALL4 RACING driven by Mohamed Abu Issa (QAT) with
support from co-driver Xavier Panseri (FRA). Stephan Schott (GER) and Paulo
Fiuza (POR) also completed Stage 10, finishing in 17th place to secure 16th
Sylvio de Barros (BR) and
Rafael Capoani (BR) completed the stage in 29th. They are now 19th overall.
MOTOSPORTS TEAM: Extreme heat, navigational challenges and
‘trial’-type sections through rocky river beds—that’s how the 10th stage was
described in the evening briefing a day before. The 10th stage of the 2017
Dakar Rally, which took the participants one step closer to the finish in Buenos
Aires, certainly lived up to every word of the sporting director, Marc Coma.
With no clear tracks for almost 140 km through the river beds, complicated by
multiple entries and exits, the 10th stage turned out to be the hardest stage
of the rally so far.
Despite the stern and hot test
thrown at the riders as they neared the home run of this edition of the Dakar,
Hero Motosports Team Rally riders, Joaquim Rodrigues and C.S. Santosh, played
it cool and sensibly towards realising a dream Dakar debut for the Indian team.
Rodrigues, based on the previous stage’s classification, was the 16th rider to
start the timed section where many of the frontrunners lost plenty of time
trying to find the correct track and the way points. Rodrigues too had to spend
more time than he would have liked to find the correct route in some of the
most challenging parts of the course.
The presence of tall and thorny vegetation
along the course only complicated the task at hand as it impeded the vision of
the riders. But in the second part of the special, the Portuguese rider put
together stellar race to complete the timed section in 6 hour 40 minutes that
put him in 19th place in the provisional stage classification. After 10 stages,
Rodrigues is in 14th place and now looking to reach the finishing line at
Santosh, the second Hero
Motosports Team Rally rider, too roughed it out on the hardest day of this
Dakar. Like most of the riders, he too lost some time at the 53-km mark, trying
to find a tricky waypoint. But once he overcame the first hurdle, Santosh
worked up a good rhythm to keep the rest of his race smooth.
In the second part of the
special, which had fast but bumpy piste, Santosh kept a steady pace to finish
his day in 37th place with a time of 7 hour 38 minute 51 seconds. His
performance on the 10th stage puts him in 50th place.
2017 Dakar Rally on Thursday continued to surprise, and to exact revenge on the
remaining field of 101 motorcycles in another stage that proved to be difficult
for almost every rider. Despite losing time at the beginning of the timed
special, Red Bull KTM factory rider Sam Sunderland held onto the overall lead
at the end of the day, now in front of his teammate Matthias Walkner in second,
even if both finished down the order in the stage results. The British rider
fought hard on the KTM 450 RALLY to make up his lost time, but the fact that
Pablo Quintanilla, Sam Sunderland’s closest rival retired due to illness in the
afternoon, allowed him to finish the day with an advantage of 30 minutes in the
standings. Second is now his Austrian teammate Matthias Walkner with Spanish
KTM rider Gerard Farres Guell in third place, 38:43 minutes off the leading
Stage winner was Spain’s Joan
Barreda with Stefan Svitko of Slovakia (KTM) second and Argentinian rider
Franco Caimi in third place.
The day’s results also
reflected the level of difficulty of Thursday’s ride during which competitors
had to recover their race rhythm after an enforced break on Wednesday. Stage 9
was cancelled after an avalanche on Tuesday cut the liaison road and leaving
many riders and support and logistics vehicles stranded. They were still racing
to catch up to the body of the rally at the overnight stop after the 10th
stage, which took riders from Chilecito to San Juan. After the 449 km timed
special of a total of 751 km, Sunderland finished in 12th 17:06 minutes off the
lead. Walkner fared somewhat better. He was 10th in the stage, 12:53 off the
While almost all the lead
riders had difficulty with the stage, KTM factory rider Laia Sanz, the reigning
World Champion in Women’s Enduro rode consistently well to finish 14th to trail
by 21:39 minutes. She is now overall 18th and is within striking distance of
her goal of a top 15 finish.
As promised by race direction,
the first part of the stage had its share of challenges with a long ‘trials’
section, and this clearly proved difficult for many riders. After near freezing
temperatures at Altitude in Bolivia, riders now also have to contend with
temperatures above 40 degrees Celsius.
Friday, the penultimate stage
takes the rally from San Juan to Rio Cuarto over a distance of 754 km of which
288 km is timed special, the first 50 km will be in the San Juan dunes. The
rally finishes in Buenos Aires on Saturday.
PEUGEOT: Thursday’s stage,
made hazardous for competitors by some particularly tricky navigation, saw the
three PEUGEOT 3008DKRs lock out the podium for the fourth time since the start
of the 2017 Dakar Rally. The result has taken the three crews even further
clear at the top of the leaderboard. Peterhansel/Cottret
notched up their third stage victory of the event and are back in the lead,
although the day’s sporting news was marred by the accidental injury sustained
by biker Simon Marcic.
Stage 10 of the 2017 Dakar Rally provided
crews with more complex navigation which caused many of them to squander chunks
of time as they endeavoured to trigger the Passage Control waypoints.
Meanwhile, Peterhansel/Cottret collided with a motorcycle competitor travelling
in the opposite direction along a narrow trail. The 2016 winners stopped to
provide the biker with assistance. Deeply affected by the incident, they stayed
with him until the arrival at the scene of the medical helicopter approximately
a quarter-of-an-hour after the accident. Once the minutes spent attending to
the motorcyclist were subtracted from the French pair’s time, they were accredited
with their third fastest time of this year’s event and they currently top the
provisional standings by a margin of 5m50s. The rider, Simon Marcic, suffered
an open tibia-fibula fracture.
Like the majority of their
fellow competitors, Loeb/Elena fell foul to the day’s challenging navigation.
They got lost on several occasions and dropped time triggering certain Passage
Control waypoints. They recovered brilliantly during the latter part of the
stage, however, to post the day’s second-fastest effort.
Despres/Castera did a solid
job on the navigational front to round out Team Peugeot Total’s one-two-three
finish. No team orders have yet been issued.
YAMAHA: Battling his way
through an extremely technical and challenging stage 10 of this year's Dakar Rally,
Adrien Van Beveren currently finds himself fourth in the rally's overall
standings. With two stages left to be contested the Yamalube Yamaha Official
Rally Team rider is now three minutes behind a provisional top three overall
result. Promised by rally organisers to be the most technically demanding stage
during the 2017 Dakar Rally, stage 10 from Chilecito to San Juan certainly
lived up to everyone's expectations. Entering the 450km-long timed special determined to retain
or even improve on his third place overall result, Van Beveren frustratingly
suffered one too many mistakes that saw the WR450F Rally mounted rider lose one
spot in the provisional overall rankings. Determined to continue battling until
the end, the Frenchman will give his best during tomorrow's 288km-long timed
special to regain his provisional position in the top three.
Following a cautious plan of
attack while making good use of his experience, Adrien's Yamalube Yamaha
Official Rally Team partner Hélder Rodrigues enjoyed the most successful stage
of his 2017 Dakar Rally campaign so far. Claiming a well-deserved fifth place
result from the stage, the rider from Portugal climbed five positions in the
provisional overall standings, where he's currently placed 11th. With two
stages to go and less than three minutes separating Hélder from the rider
provisionally holding 10th overall, the possibility remains of all three Yamaha
Racing riders finishing inside the Dakar Rally's top 10.
Continuing to battle for the
top, Xavier de Soultrait made a series of small navigational mistakes that
forced the Yamaha France supported rider to settle for 22nd on today's stage
10. Dropping to eighth in the provisional overall standings, Xavier is
determined to push hard for the top six during the last two stages of the
HONDA: Under difficult
situations, the Monster Energy Honda Team riders kept up a good fight. Michael
Metge and Ricky Brabec showed the pace in the first half, while Joan Barreda
experienced navigation difficulties and finished 4 minutes 13 seconds behind
the leader. Paulo Goncalves also lost some time by missing the course, but was
able to continue on to the second part without any problems.
After finishing the first
part, the riders rode 90km to the start of the second part of the Special
Stage. Starting with the same order as the first part, Monster Energy Honda
Team’s Joan Barreda opened the course. Although opening the course can be a
disadvantage to navigate, Barreda maintained a fast pace and scored his stage
victory, third in a row for the Monster Energy Honda team.
Goncalves spent some time
finding a way-point in the first part but was able to retrieve the time he had
lost in the second part, finishing the stage 8 minutes 43 seconds behind the
leading Barreda in 8th position. Metge showed exceptional speed throughout the
stage, but received a one-hour penalty for missing a way-point, costing him a
drop in the overall standings.
Brabec was also riding well
until mechanical issues occurred only 12km away from the goal line. He managed
to return to the bivouac with help from oncoming riders but has gone down in
the leaderboard. This 10th stage has turned out to be the longest of the 2017
Dakar due to several stages being canceled or shortened. The Monster Energy
Honda Team has scored four stage victories so far, and Barreda, who is back in
5th position in the overall standings, has pulled back time to be within an
hour from the race leader.
SHERCO TVS: It was a very long
special and the navigation was very difficult as had been announced by race
director Marc Coma. Adrien Metge rode an outstanding race and he was in the
lead at CP1. Concentrating on the navigation, he found the right track and
rolled at a good rhythm. He was in third place at the start of the special, he
then decided to back off and save his machine because of the very high
temperatures (+50C). He finished 7th 8'18" behind the winner. The result
of his ride in Stage 10 has moved him up
to 26th place in the overall classification. As for Juan, he started off strong
this morning. He left with the urgency
and pressure of his 5th place, but because of a navigation error, he
lost 30 minutes. He then recovered 10 minutes by continuing to attack. He
finished 16th at 26'30 '' behind the winner and moves to 16th place in the
general classification. The two bikes have arrived in San Juan in good
condition, all is well and the Sherco TVS Factory Rally Team is strong and
ready for the next stage.