dakar 2016 stage 9 toyota
dakar rally, motorcycles, Motoring News, motorsport, off-road racing

Two disasters for SA crews on Bolivian high plains

DISASTER IN THE DESERT: The Toyota carrying Overdrive's Bernhard ten Brinke and navigator Tom Colsoul burned out

DISASTER IN THE DESERT: The Toyota carrying Overdrive’s Bernhard ten Brinke and navigator Tom Colsoul burned out on Stage 6 of the 2016 Dakar after a damaged tyre slotted into a compartment beneath the cabin caught fire. Image: Facebook

UYUNI, Bolivia – It was another high-altitude stage on Dakar 2016 on Friday (Jan 8) as the crews tackled the 542km Stage 6 with a series of disasters awaiting them on the high plains of Bolivia.

For Toyota Gazoo Racing SA the extreme altitude was challenging against the turbocharged and therefore more altitude-capable cars but Yazeed al-Rajhi and navigator Timo Gottschalk (#305) proved their South African-built Toyota Hilux could compete at any altitude.

al-Rahji, hit by by altitude sickness through Thursday’s Stage 5, recovered overnight and set the third-fastest time on Friday’s Stage 6 to finish the day 7min19 off the pace set by stage-winner Stephane Peterhansel (Peugeot) but clearly fighting back after losing time on Stage 5.


“It’s a pity that I felt so ill the previous two days,” he said from the bivouac at Uyuni, “but now I am much better, the Hilux is good, and we are ready to take the fight to the crews in front of us.”

ANOTHER SECOND DISASTER: The Poulter/Howie Hilux hit a banking and a flying fencepole shattered the wndscreen. Later, the bakkie rolled and had to be righted by De Villiers. Image: Toyota SA

Team mates Giniel de Villiers and navigator Dirk von Zitzewitz (#301) maintained a steady pace on the stage but lost time when they stopped to help Leeroy Poulter and Rob Howie (see tyre disaster below) in another Gaszoo entry so are now fifth overall.

WATCH a video wrap of the Cars and Bikes on Stage 6

WATCH a video wrap of the Trucks and Quads onStages 5 and 6

Then, disaster! Poulter/Howie (#319) started the day in that position but ran wide on a sharp corner early in the stage. Their Hilux hit a fence, ripping a support post from the ground. The post swung around the car still attached to a piece of wire and punched a hole in the windscreen right in front of Howie though he wasn’t hurt.

Howie struggled on despite the damage and wind blast but steadily lost time before crashing again at 450km in a tightening right-hander. This time the Hilux hit the bank on the outside of the corner and rolled on to its side so the crew quickly prepared a tow rope.

De Villiers arrived and hooked-up and the stricken Hilux was quickly upright again.


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The incident cost 23min37 over the stage-winner and Poulter finished the stage seventh overall. An upbeat team boss Glyn Hall commented later: “To have all three cars in the top 10 is very satisfying. Now that we’re heading back to lower altitudes we’re confident and will push very hard on the second half of the race.”


The Toyota carrying Overdrive’s Bernhard ten Brinke and navigator Tom Colsoul was not so lucky – it burned out on Stage 6 after a puncture 15km from the end of the stage. They fitted a spare wheel and put the punctured one in a bay below the cabin – not realising that it had caught fire after puncturing.

It re-ignited and set fire to the car race car, which burned out. The two crew were not hurt..

The Dutch driver and his co-driver eventually reached the finish line in a media vehicle – a bitter end to the rally for the Dutchman who had demonstrated his speed in winning the prologue as well as running eighth in the general standings.


Rivalry has been revived within the Peugeot team, so far running 1-2-3 overall in the Cars section. Despite another demonstration by Sébastien Loeb triumph was in the hands of Stéphane Peterhansel who took advantage of Loeb’s puncture and electronics problems.

Peterhansel, winner of the most Dakars through the years, won the stage and took hold of the lead in the general standings. Loeb, with a finish 8min15 behind his countryman, lost the lead of the car category by 27 seconds and it would be simplistic to merely attribute this victory to the difficulties encountered by Loeb. On slow and bumpy tracks, Peterhansel let his experience and skill in reading the terrain shine through to pick up a second convincing victory.

Carlos Sainz also let his experience do the talking with a second placed finish. However, while punctures are part of the territory on the Dakar’s stages, the accelerator problems suffered by Loeb, after those of Cyril Despres on Thursday, were a little more worrying this evening for the Peugeot team.


At the moment, the consequences are still limited but a repetition of these setbacks could breathe new life into the race sooner than expected. At the least these are most probably the hopes of Nasser al-Attiyah (Mini) who was again faced with making up the numbers on Friday.

In the general standings, the gaps have been spectacularly reduced: Peterhansel leads Loeb by 27sec and Sainz by 5min55’’. Al-Attiyah (Mini) is somehow hanging in there in fourth, 15min19’ behind Peterhansel.

Toby Price (KTM) won the bikes section for the third time since the star and is within 35sec of the overall lead.

Toby Price, victorious on Thursday on the first marathon stage, picked up another success on Friday.

After trailing by more than two minutes at CP3 he won with a lead of 1min12 over Honda rider Gonçalves. Despite his excellent start, the Portuguese rider was utterly unable to counter his rival’s comeback. Nonetheless, he keeps the lead in the general standings by 35 seconds. The quiet but efficient Walkner is now third, 2min50’ behind.

The stage saw a number of withdrawals, among them Ruben Faria (Husqvarna) with a fractured wrist. Joan Barreda (Honda) dropped into the general standings after repeated mechanical problems

Friday saw the Patronelli brothers, wh returned to the Dakar this year, taking a 1-2 finish with Marcos beating Alejandro by 6min39. In the general standings, the Argentines have also climbed on to the first two steps of the podium – but this time Alejandro leads. Russia’s Sergei Karyakin completes the top three, 5min39 behind the leader.

Casale took a fall, broke a collar bone, and is out of the race. South African Brian Baragwanath is still in the top three.

Although the truck category contested a different and shorter stage, the special was still as breathtaking. Once again three Hollanders were in the day’s top three but this time Hans Stacey made the difference on the final portion to beat Gérard de Rooy by seven seconds. In the general standings, Stacey has taken advantage of the relatively below-par performance by Villagra, who finished ninth on Friday to take the lead.

He’s now ahead of Pieter Versluis by 59 seconds and Argentine Federico Villagra by 4min05.


After its two days in Bolivia the Dakar will return to the lower altitudes of Argentina for Stage 7 today (Saturday) though the first part of the stage will continue at high altitudes in Bolivia. The race stage will cover 336km with a 481km liaison and the formalities of the border crossing – a long day for the crews.

ONE DAY TO REST DAY: This is the route the Dakar crews will follow back into Argentina from the high plains of Bolivia.
ONE DAY TO REST DAY: This is the route the 2016 Dakar crews will follow back into Argentina from the high plains of Bolivia.

Saturday’s stage will be followed by a rest day in Salta before the race turns south for six more stages back through Argentina to the finish on January 16 in Rosario.

Programme for the 2016 Dakar

02/01: Start podium in Buenos Aires / Prologue / Liaison to Bivouac “0” close to Rosario
03/01: Buenos Aires – Villa Carlos Paz
04/01: Villa Carlos Paz – Termas de Río Hondo
05/01: Termas de Río Hondo – Jujuy
06/01: Jujuy – Jujuy
07/01: Jujuy – Uyuni
08/01: Uyuni – Uyuni
09/01: Uyuni – Salta
10/01: Rest day in Salta
11/01: Salta – Belén
12/01: Belén – Belén
13/01: Belén – La Rioja
14/01: La Rioja – San Juan
15/01: San Juan – Villa Carlos Paz
16/01: Villa Carlos Paz – Rosario

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