- Victory on Stage 12 for Al-Attiyah/Baumel
- Third on Stage 12 for De Villiers/Von Zitzewitz
- Mini entry arrives to join the leaders
SAN JUAN, Argentina – Thursday’s (Jan 18) 2018 Dakar Stage 12 saw South Africa’s Toyota Gazoo Racing’s Qatari driver Nasser Al-Attiyah score his 12th stage victory in the rally, his third stage win in this years marathon race.
The winner of two previous Dakars and now a strong third in the general rankings is partnered by navigator Mathieu Baumel, who reported a clean day’s run in his Toyota Gazoo Racing SA Hilux.
“The stage worked out perfectly for us,” Al-Attiyah said from the bivouac at San Juan. “We had a great road position, starting the stage fifth on the road. This, together with a great navigating performance by Mathieu, made it possible for us to win the stage for Toyota.”
Al-Attiyah/Baumel raced for 5hr49min57, beating Peugeot’s Stephane Peterhansel by 2min03 after the latter had a big scare. According to witnesses, the Peugeot driver left the road in sixth gear, and was extremely lucky not to roll or severely damage his car.
Third-fastest on Stage 12 was Toyota Gazoo’s Dakar veteran Giniel de Villiers, partnered with German navigator Dirk von Zitzewitz. The man from Stellenbosch finished the stage 4min33 behind Al-Attiyah/Baumel and 2min30 behind Peterhansel.
He told Carman’s Corner in a media communication: “We had a pretty good stage. Were it not for two punctures that cost us more than five minutes we may well have won the stage,” said De Villiers after reaching the bivouac at San Juan nearly 12 hours after setting off from Chilecito. “Even so, we’re happy with our performance.”
‘SURPRISED BY OUR SPEED’
Dutch driver Bernhard ten Brinke and French navigator Michel Périn were the first crew to tackle Stage 12 after winning Stage 11 – the fearsome Fiambala stage – so were first into Stage 12. Despite having to open the road, they constantly challenged for the stage win but dropped back after experiencing an electronics problem.
He said later: “We were surprised by how quick we were early in the stage but then we had a problem with the altitude sensor and had to stop. Luckily I had dealt with a similar issue during testing in Morocco so I knew exactly where to cut which wires to bypass the sensor.
”We were back on the road five minutes later, but that was enough to lose the lead.”
Ten Brinke/Périn eventually clocked in 7min53 behind Al-Attiyah, fifth-fastest. It was a great performance, especially given the fact that they were opening the track.
…WHAT THE BOSS HAD TO SAY…
Team principal,Glyn Hall reported from San Juan: “Overall, we’re happy with our performance. Another stage win, three crews in the top five… but we came here to win the race so can’t help but be a little disappointed.
”That said, stage victories are great and we value them enormously.”
…AND WHAT’S STILL TO COME
One more long stage remains in the 2018 Dakar -Stage 13 from San Juan to Cordoba. The racing stage is 369km over a mix of surfaces including dunes, gravel tracks and jungle paths. The stage also features a 560km liaison so is a huge stage of nearly 1000km that could provide a sting in the tail of the Dakar.
As things stand, Toyota Gazoo Racing has three crews in the top five, with Al-Attiyah/Baumel leading. The Qatari/Frenchman are third overall but more than an hour behind rally leader Sainz (Peugeot). Ten Brinke/Périn is fourth, just shy of 12 minutes further back. De Villiers/Von Zitzewitz are fifth, 1hr26min31 behind Sainz.
The Dakar Rally will end on Saturday January 20 in Cordoba, Argentina.
STAGE 12 RESULTS:
1 N Al-Attiyah (Toyota) 5hr49min57
2 S Peterhansel (Peugeot) +2min03
3 G de Villiers (Toyota) +4min3
4 O Terranova (Mini) +5min56
5 B Ten Brinke (Toyota) +7min53
OVERALL STANDINGS AFTER STAGE 12:
1 C Sainz (Peugeot) 42hr24min31
2 S Peterhansel (Peugeot) +44min41
3 N Al-Attiyah (Toyota) +1hr05min55
4 B Ten Brinke (Toyota) +0hr17min21
5 G de Villiers (Toyota) +0hr26min31