FOURTH, FIFTH, SEVENTH AND 20TH PLACES OVERALL FOR MONSTER ENERGY X-RAID TEAM IN 2011 DAKAR RALLY
* Peterhansel completes final special in sixth to secure fourth
* Qatar's Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah secures Dakar Rally victory
* Holowczyc, Dos Santos and Schott finish 5th, 7th and 20th overall
BUENOS AIRES (Argentina): The Monster Energy X-raid team reached the finish of the 33rd Personal Dakar Argentina-Chile in fourth, fifth, seventh and 20th positions after the 13th competitive stage of the event between Cуrdoba and Buenos Aires on Saturday.
The French crew of Stйphane Peterhansel and Jean-Paul Cottret completed the final timed stage in sixth position and led the way in fourth overall in their Monster Energy-backed BMW X3 CC. The result was a repeat of the position in which the French duo finished the Dakar last year.
"We had the equipment to fight and for the first week we were there," said Peterhansel. "We were just minutes from the leaders. And then, we began to lose out through error on my part. There were errors in navigation and, of course, we lost a lot of time with a series of punctures.
"We finished the same as last year -- fourth. This is motor sport. The Dakar is complicated. We know that. You have to cope with the mistakes and the pitfalls. We will be back next year and we have some ideas to improve the car."
Poland's Krzysztof Holowczyc and Belgian co-driver Jean-Marc Fortin were under no pressure to attack on the final stage and needed only to conserve their fine fifth position. They completed a successful Dakar campaign by setting the third fastest time.
Qatar's Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah clinched his first ever Dakar Rally victory after finishing second last year and retiring while leading with the X-raid team two years ago. The Qatari's success marked the greatest sporting achievement by an Arab in history. He beat South Africa's Giniel de Villiers by 49m 41s.
Ricardo Leal Dos Santos and Paulo Fiщza passed the first passage control in a relaxed 12th position today and maintained a sensible pace through the closing kilometres to conserve seventh in the overall rankings. The Portuguese were classified 11th on the final stage.
Stephan Schott and Holm Schmidt reached the finish of the penultimate stage into Cуrdoba in 14th position -- their best finishing position on a Dakar special this year - and began the final stage in 20th overall. They were 14th through PC1 and went on to finish the final stage in 13th. The German pair duly completed an action-packed event in 20th overall.
Andrea Mayer, Thomas Baumann and Phillip Beier completed the penultimate stage into Cordoba in 37th overall and were granted a final stage start time of 14.10hrs. They had provided vital back up to the entire team during the course of one of the most difficult Dakar rallies in recent years.
Today's stage was set to be no means the most difficult of the event, but it offered its own series of pitfalls nonetheless. Crews tackled a 495km liaison from Argentina's second city to the start of the 182km competitive section, which finished at the Barradero race circuit. A 150km liaison then guided the survivors into Buenos Aires.
Sainz led the way into the special - which was slightly revised by the ASO to avoid an area of swampland - but the Spaniard had no real chance of preventing Al-Attiyah from taking his first title unless the Qatari hit trouble. Peterhansel, Holowczyc, Dos Santos and Schott began the final competitive section in fourth, fifth, eighth and 14th positions on the road.
Sainz headed Al-Attiyah by seven seconds at the first passage control with Holowczyc and Peterhansel running in a virtual third and sixth on the stage through all three passage controls. The Spaniard held on to take the stage win but Al-Attiyah finished to second to confirm overall victory over Giniel De Villiers by 49m 41s. Holowczyc was the best of the BMW drivers in third.
Tomorrow (Sunday) marks the official podium celebrations at the end of the 33rd Personal Dakar Argentina-Chile. Quads will be the first competitors to cross the finish podium, followed by the triumphant top 10 bikes in reverse order and the leading cars in finishing order.
The leading trucks will follow and the remaining cars and trucks will round off the finishing celebrations in downtown Buenos Aires.
-source: bmw x-raid