Darren Skilton Earns a Well Deserved Break at Mid-Point of 2012 Dakar Rally
After days of battling fuel deliver issues that would send most competitors packing, Darren Skilton is finally finding his stride at the 2012 Dakar Rally. The Stage 7 loop starting and ending in Copiapo covered 417 kilometers with the most sand dunes to date. Competitors have been dropping out at a rapid rate and Dakar veteran Skilton new that he must merely survive Special Stage 7 in order to ensure the chance of a strong finish at the rally. This is a scenario that is not foreign to the 17-year racing resident, who is taking part in his ninth Dakar Rally. Last year the Long Beach resident won the Open Production 2 class in a General Tire-shod Ford Raptor.
Skilton finished Special Stage 7 in 44th place, reaching the finish line as the sun was setting and avoiding the dangers of navigating through the dunes at night. “We lost a tire today and I had to replace it with a new General Grabber on a non-beadlocked Method Race Wheel,” navigator Skyler Gambrell explained. “I was concerned about losing the bead since we were running only six pounds of air in the dunes, but it wasn’t a problem.” Darren and Skyler now sit in third in the Open Production 1 class after their second best stage finish of the rally.
Skilton’s Baja Automotive team now enjoys a much-needed rest day as they prep the Revolution VI for the second half of the 2012 Dakar Rally. After burning up two fuel pumps on Saturday the team plans to redesign the fuel system with a high-volume, low-pressure pump feeding a sump tank for the new high-pressure fuel pumps. On Monday the team heads north through the hostile Atacama Desert on the way towards their final goal in Lima, Peru.