Rundle / Mohr 15th On Stage Eight And Now 17th Overall
Thomas Rundle and Juan Mohr (DMack/Barden Toyota Hilux) enjoyed their first day of racing In Chile after eight days in Argentina with a second successive 15th place stage finish on Monday that saw them improve their overall position in the Dakar Rally to 17th.
The Dakar rookies had another trouble-free run on the 302-kilometre special stage eight to Calama that was run over fast, narrow tracks at an average height above sea level of over 3 000 metres. Earlier, on the 522-kilometre liaison section from Salta in Argentina, they had crossed the Andes Mountains at a height of nearly 5 000 metres above sea level via the Paso de Jama.
“For the first time we started with a dust gap of a minute instead of 30 seconds after finishing 15th yesterday, and this made a big difference,” said Rundle. “We tried to maintain that dust gap throughout the stage without doing anything silly, and we managed to achieve this without any problems.
“I am still driving with something in reserve and, although we are in a better position at this stage of the race than we ever thought we would be, our objective remains to complete our first Dakar rather than finish in a particular position.”
Monday’s stage was won by Qatar’s Nasser Al-Attiyah and Spanish co-driver Lucas Cruz in a Mini, who finished 1m 12s ahead of defending champions Stephane Peterhansel and Jean Paul Cottret of France (Mini) and 2m 36s in front of Spain’s Carlos Sainz and German co-driver Timo Gottschalk (SMG Buggy). Rundle and Mohr were 18m 15s behind the winners.
Roma and Perin remain in the overall lead with a reduced gap of 23m 46s to Peterhansel and Cottret. The South African/German duo of Giniel de Villiers and Dirk von Zitzewitz are third in a Toyota Hilux, 48m 25s in arrears.
Stage nine, from Calama to the 2014 Dakar’s most northern point at Iquique, starts with a 27-kilometre liaison section, followed by a 422-kilometre racing section that reveals the Pacific Ocean for the first time and re-introduces competitors to the dunes of the Atacama Desert, said to be the driest place in the world where no rain has ever been recorded in some places. The spectacular descent of a giant sand dune to the overnight bivouac is guaranteed to attract thousands of enthusiastic spectators.
Thomas Rundle acknowledges his sponsors and Dakar team partners DMack Tyres, Barden, Liqui Moly, Willard Powertech, DeWalt, Godrich Toyota, Cambist, Pioneer Plastics, Spiralsoft, Itec – Pretoria East, Chemvulc, EyeGym, Rudy Project Eyewear, Ruwacon, Vibro Bricks and Paving, Autozone, Olympus Panelbeaters, Maxwell Advertising & Design, PVM Nutritional Sciences, Steam Generation Africa, Ultimate Powder Coaters, Marina Colonna South Africa, Donaldson Filtration Solutions, Steed Bekker Waterproofing, Chopper Worx, KEC Electrical, Jodan Construction, Ah + A Electrical, Stargas, 4C Technology, PH Bagale, Clippa Sales/Mentos, FH Chamberlain Trading, Raceworx KTM and Lynnwood Cyclery.