Peru provides toughest challenge. If anyone thought that the Atacama ended in Chile, they were proven wrong today, on day 13, stage 12 of the Dakar. Not long after the cars disappeared into the seaside dunes, the running order started to change tales of woe started to emerge from the dunes. Conditions were not what most people expected.
Giniel de Villiers: “These were the trickiest dunes we’ve had so far, anything could happen out there. They’re not that big, but steep and tricky, very, very difficult.”
The race leaders got stuck and Giniel led the stage before getting stuck himself. When the times were taken at the final control outside the barren, windswept Nasca plains, he was third. This leaves him in a comfortable third place overall.
Duncan and Robbie were not so lucky and landed grill-first in a sandbank, losing just over an hour and a half in the process. When the emerged from the dunes, it was in 31st place, 1h55m behind the leaders. Duncan maintains his 10th place overall, but is now only a minute ahead of Holowczyz in one of the the Mini.
Lucio Alvarez had a good run and is lying in a safe 6th place overall.
Today’s stage was a sobering experience when the crews realised the magnitude of the Peruvian challenge and tomorrow’s stage is greeted with some trepidation.
The last proper challenge of the event, the teams will make a last 260km pass through the Atacama, in the region of the famous Nasca lines. They will be hoping for favourable gods.
information supplied by: Toyota South Africa – Dakar 14 January 2012