Rundle / Mohr Improve To 22nd Overall On The Dakar Rally
The DMack/Barden team’s Thomas Rundle and Juan Mohr, the South African privateers competing in their first Dakar Rally in the same Toyota Hilux in which 2009 winners Giniel de Villiers and Germany’s Dirk von Zitzewitz finished second in last year’s Dakar, delivered another steady performance to finish 21st on special stage 10 between Iquique and Antofagasta in Chile on Wednesday.
Their efforts were rewarded with a three-place improvement in their overall position in the general classification to 22nd
It was another punishing stage covering a total distance of 688 kilometres, starting with a 53-kilometre liaison section before a 635-kilometre racing section that ended with another dune descent into the bivouac overlooking the Pacific Ocean.
“Our hardworking crew had another late night last night fixing the power steering problem that dropped us to 25th overnight,” said Rundle . “A big ‘thank-you’ to them. They are the best.
“It was a tough stage with fast tracks, some fesh-fesh – the very fine dust that gets into everything and makes visibility difficult when following another car – and more dunes. The dunes are difficult, with navigation a big challenge and the danger of bogging down in the sand always there. We did well today.
“We’re getting better with each new day’s experiences and are just trying to maintain a steady pace and complete each day’s stage. The finish at Valparaiso on Saturday is not far away and we aim to be here.”
The stage was won by Qatar’s Nasser Al-Attiyah and Spanish co-driver Lucas Cruz (Mini), who finished 3m 50s ahead of French team-mates and defending champions Stephane Peterhansel and Jean Paul Cottret of France. They in turn were 9m 55s in front of team-mates Nani Roma of Spain and Michel Perin of France. .
Roma and Perin maintained their overall first position in the general classification, but with a reduced lead over Peterhansel and Cottret of 2m 15s. Third are Al-Attiyah and Cruz (+48m 01s).
The rally continues to make its way south down the west coast of Chile with Thursday’s 11th stage from Antofagasta to El Salvador dominated by a tough crossing of the Atacama Desert, the driest in the world. After mine tracks and many river crossings in the first part of the 605-kilometre special stage, it will be into the heart of the dunes of Copiapo. Competitors will spend more than six and a half hours in their cars.
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, Lynnwood Cyclery and Heather James Rundle..