ALDO Racing Stages 4 & 5 report from the 2015 Dakar
Montreal - Stage 5 of the 2015 Dakar Rally, held Thursday between the Chilean cities of Copiaco and Antofagasta, was announced as a fast-paced but treacherous run, and included a 458 km Special Stage, split by two liaison stages for a total ride of 697 km on the day.
Starting 45th, the Canadian tandem of David Bensadoun and Patrick Beaulé, maintained the pace in the early goings in one the few special stages with a common program for all categories. At mid-point of the stage however, David Bensadoun stepped up to the plate and increased his rhythm to move up the field, and cross the finish line 35th in the seashore city of Antofagasta.
Better to let someone else hit that rock that could take us out!
"We ran a very clean stage. No punctures and no mechanical issues. Just a quick pit stop where one of us was out of the Toyota for 90 seconds and four cars passed us! This is a very competitive event," said David Bensadoun. "We are very happy with our day and drove a very fast but safe pace. I was sometime over braking for obstacles to be sure we didn't hit anything. It paid off - we passed eight broken down cars today.
"Now that we're running in the top 40, the pace is very fast and we have to plan a strategic approach. Pushing hard to pass someone who is 1% slower isn't always worth it as they serve as a marker to see terrain and obstacles. Better to let someone else hit that rock that could take us out! The bivouac is smaller now that so many have been knocked out. I must point out here that our tech team has been amazing. The car is so well prepared every day. We have had no mechanical issues with the Toyota."
Only 85 cars took the start for Thursday morning's Stage 5, down 52 of the 137 that left Sunday in Buenos Aires. In FRIDAY's Stage 6, competitors will climb up the Pacific coast north towards Iquique, where they will be greeted by fans at a podium finish, marking the halfway point of the Dakar.
ALDO Racing Recap of Stage 4 on Wednesday, January 7
Leaving Argentina for Chile was earned through hard work by Bensadoun and Beaulé, after a morning liaison of 594 kilometres that had their Toyota Tacoma climb to 4,800 metres in altitude. The Canadian duo crossed the border into Chile at Paso San Francisco, and then went down the western side of the Andes to the Atacama Desert, where they found open and sandy terrain for the 315-kilometre Special Stage (SS) that took them to Copiaco. Near the end of that stage, they encountered a few problems that cost them a bit of time. They gradually slipped from 38th to 42nd place at the end of the day.
"We made it before dark to Copiaco! The day went pretty well as we only had one flat and got stuck only once in the dunes near the end of the SS," Patrick Beaulé said. "David definitely is one with the Toyota! The group of cars we were running with today (Wednesday) was flying! This is great because we fell, but now we are in the right group and it keeps the dust away for longer. We need to stay with this group and hold on to the race momentum."
ALDO Racing finish position following Stage 4: 42nd
ALDO Racing overall standings following Stage 4: 45th
ALDO Racing finish position following Stage 5: 35th
ALDO Racing overall standings following Stage 5: 41st
The next press release will be issue Friday, January 9 following the finish of Stage 6 in Iquique.