In the antepenultimate stage, from Antofagasta to El Salvador, the Argentinean-Portuguese pairing Orlando Terranova / Paulo Fiúza in the orange MINI All4 Racing celebrated their first stage win in this Dakar. Thanks to this success, they re-passed Giniel de Villiers in the overall standings and worked their way up to fourth position. Catalan Nani Roma and his French navigator Michel Périn, the current leaders, took their yellow MINI ALL4 Racing to second place. The black MINI ALL4 Racing, raced by the French pairing Stéphane Peterhansel / Jean-Paul Cottret, came fourth, with Nasser Al-Attiyah (QAT) / Lucas Cruz (ESP) in the white MINI ALL4 Racing following right behind in fifth position.
Due to the enormous speed Nasser Al-Attiyah and Stéphane Peterhansel raced at in the past days, Team Manager Sven Quandt made the decision that the drivers of the team should keep their positions in the overall standings. “The risk that something goes wrong at the enormous speed the two were racing at got just too big,” explained Sven Quandt. “We wanted cars and drivers to safely make it to the finish and we want to see three MINI ALL4 Racing on the podium.”
Terranova and his friends were beaming when the Argentinean entered the bivouac at El Salvador. Over the course of the 600-kilometre stage, Terranova worked his way up step by step to cross the finish line as winner, in the end. “This was a long and gruelling stage,” he said, “Particularly for the tyres. There were about 100 kilometres of dunes but the rest was extremely rocky. Nonetheless, we actually made it to the finish without any punctures and without losing our way.” In the overall standings, he now is back in fourth position.
Roma displayed constant speed, in the longest special stage of the 2014 Dakar, and only lost some time due to a puncture. “It was a tough day today,” Roma admitted. “At first I was driving in the dust of Stéphane and then I suffered a puncture. I’m happy that another day is over.” In the overall standings, he now holds a lead of slightly more than five minutes over his team-mate Peterhansel. The Frenchman suffered two punctures on the rocky tracks. “In addition, the team had asked us to stop pushing,” revealed the Frenchman. “It’s the goal to have three MINIs on the podium.”
Al-Attiyah held the lead for the major part of the special stage, today, but in the closing stages he hit a rock, resulting in a broken suspension and a damaged chassis – that fortunately can be repaired. “We had to change the suspension what cost us about 25 minutes,” the driver from Qatar revealed. Despite this incident, he succeeded in defending his third position in the overall standings.
For Holowczyc, it’s all about making it safely to the finish, from today. He holds the secure seventh position in the overall standings. “We had just a normal stage today, nothing special,” said the Pole. “In the overall standings, our gap to the cars in front of us and our lead over the cars behind is so big that pushing wouldn’t make any sense.”
Tomorrow, the field will contest the penultimate stage, with the special-stage action starting start right at the bivouac. Other than in the past years, the bivouac won’t be located at Copiapo as fog again and again prevented the field from starting in time, in the past. Tomorrow’s route mainly will feature sand and dunes. With the special stage completed, the competitors will have to cover another 349 kilometres to the bivouac.
Stage 11 (Antofagasta – El Salvador)
1. O. Terranova (ARG) / P. Fiúza (POR) MINI ALL4 Racing – 5h 58m 00s
2. N. Roma (ESP) / M. Périn (FRA) MINI ALL4 Racing – 6h 08m 57s
3. G. de Villiers (ZAF) / D. von Zitzewitz (GER) Toyota – 6h 10m 38s
4. S. Peterhansel (FRA) / J.-P. Cottret (FRA) MINI ALL4 Racing – 6h 12m 14s
5. N. Al-Attiyah (QAT) / L. Cruz (ESP) MINI ALL4 Racing – 6h 18m 57s
7. F. Villagra (ARG) / J. P. Companc (ARG) MINI ALL4 Racing – 6h 31m 55s
9. K. Holowczyc (POL) / K. Zhiltsov (RUS) MINI ALL4 Racing – 6h 36m 17s
10. V. Vasilyev (RUS) / V. Yevtyekhov (UKR) MINI ALL4 Racing – 6h 37m 06s
11. B. Garafulic (CHI) / G. Picard (FRA) MINI ALL4 Racing – 6h 42m 05s
13. M. Kaczmarski (POL) / F. Palmeiro (POR) MINI ALL4 Racing – 6h 52m 49s
19. S. Schott (GER) / H. Schmidt (GER) MINI ALL4 Racing – 7h 32m 45s
21. Zhou Yong (CHN) / Hong Yu Pan (CHN) MINI ALL4 Racing – 7h 45m 40s
Overall Ranking after Stage 11:
1. N. Roma (ESP) / M. Périn (FRA) MINI ALL4 Racing – 45h 01m 54s
2. S. Peterhansel (FRA) / J.-P. Cottret (FRA) MINI ALL4 Racing – 45h 07m 26s
3. N. Al-Attiyah (QAT) / L. Cruz (ESP) MINI ALL4 Racing – 45h 57m 55s
4. O. Terranova (ARG) / P. Fiúza (POR) MINI ALL4 Racing – 46h 05m 33s
5. G. de Villiers (ZAF) / D. von Zitzewitz (GER) Toyota – 46h 15m 23s
6. K. Holowczyc (POL) / K. Zhiltsov (RUS) MINI ALL4 Racing – 48h 46m 45s
9. M. Kaczmarski (POL) / F. Palmeiro (POR) MINI ALL4 Racing – 51h 19m 40s
10. V. Vasilyev (RUS) / V. Yevtyekhov (UKR) MINI ALL4 Racing – 51h 36m 51s
11. B. Garafulic (CHI) / G. Picard (FRA) MINI ALL4 Racing – 52h 12m 22s
12. F. Villagra (ARG) / J. P. Companc (ARG) MINI ALL4 Racing – 52h 55m 49s
17. S. Schott (GER) / H. Schmidt (GER) MINI ALL4 Racing – 57h 12m 19s
25. Zhou Yong (CHN) / Hong Yu Pan (CHN) MINI ALL4 Racing – 67h 18m 27s