Orlando Terranova claims another stage win at the 2015 Dakar Rally and moves up to third place overall // MINI defends its lead in the overall classification.
Munich (DE). Another successful day for MINI at the 2015 Dakar Rally. Orlando Terranova (AR) and his co-driver Bernardo Graue (AR) have won the third stage at the toughest challenge in motorsports in South America. It was their third stage win at this year’s Dakar. After a crash on the final kilometres on Monday the Argentinean duo was able to reduce the 22 minutes gap to the leader by almost four minutes. They are now back in a strong third place overall.
On Wednesday Terranova will be first car on the road. “Therefore, we can’t think about strategy in a situation like this but just have to push,” Terranova said after stage three.
Meanwhile, Nasser Al-Attiyah/Mathieu Baumel (QT/FR) defended their lead in the overall classification. They finished in fifth place and are still 5:18 minutes ahead of their closest opponents.
On leg three from San Juan (AR) to Chilecito (AR) the drivers crossed the Pampa de la Varita at the foot of the majestic Andes. The 284 kilometre long special stage was held on hard loamy soil. The participants had to cross a lot of dried out river beds which turned out to be very tough on the tires. A lot of cars suffered tire failures.
Two more MINI ALL4 Racing scored top ten positions on day three of the 2015 Dakar Rally. Joan “Nani” Roma (ES) and his co-driver Michel Périn (FR) finished in a strong sixth place, moving up eight places in the overall classification. They are now in 49th position overall.
The Spaniard is much more optimistic for the rest of the Dakar after this encouraging result: “Today’s special stage was somewhat easier,” Roma said. “Our vision now isn’t so limited, now, and the driving is made more enjoyable by this fact. So let’s wait and see if we won’t be able to win a stage, every now and then.”
The Dutch duo Erik van Loon and Wouter Rosegaar finished two places further down in eighth place. They are still in a strong seventh place in the overall classification, one position behind Krzysztof Holowczyc/Xavier Panseri (PL/FR) in the MINI ALL4 Racing, who were in 12th position today.
Holowczyc’s drive wasn’t completely flawless. “Some 100 kilometres after the start I realised that the rear-wheel drive didn’t work anymore,” the Pole said. “We checked everything but at the end of the day, we had to continue like that, with a front-wheel driven car. And there was very fine sand waiting for us. Therefore, we nearly got stuck twice – but we made it!”
On Wednesday (Leg 4 – Chilecito/Copiapo) the drivers will cross the border to Chile. Stage four will be started up in the Andes at an altitude of just over 3,000 metres and will be characterized by twisty mountain roads at the beginning. Later they have to cross large dunes with extremely fine sand before reaching the finish line in Copiapo, which is located at an altitude of approximately 1,000 metres above sea level.
Overall classification after leg 3 (Top 5).
01 Al-Attiyah/Baumel – MINI ALL4 Racing – 9:21:26h
02 De Villiers/Von Zitzewitz – 9:26:18h
03 Terranova/Graue – MINI ALL4 Racing – 9:39:31h
04 Sainz/Cruz – 9:40:58h
05 Al Rajhi/Gottschalk – 9:41:34h