BMW X-raid stage 6 report

FLAT TYRES RUIN PETERHANSEL'S CHANCES OF LEADING 33RD DAKAR RALLY AT ARICA REST DAY

- Chicherit and Perin amongst the leaders in new Mini All4 Racing
- Holowczyc, Terranova and Dos Santos finish stage in 6th, 8th and 10th
- Spain's Carlos Sainz takes 2m 42s overall lead into rest day at Arica
- Germany's Schott back on the pace; Mayer's MAN truck delayed

ARICA (Chile): The Monster Energy X-raid team duo of Stephane Peterhansel and Jean-Paul Cottret slipped back to third overall after the sixth 456km special stage of the 33rd Dakar Rally between Iquique and Arica, near the northern Chilean border with Peru, on Friday.

Peterhansel held the advantage through the middle of the day's stage, only for an unprecedented four punctures to cost him valuable time over the last 100km of the section. The Frenchman now heads into the rest day in Arica trailing Spain's Carlos Sainz -- the winner of the day's special stage -- by 14m 51s, with it all to do when the second half of the rally resumes on Sunday.

"We were running really well, but crossing the dunes we missed a waypoint and had to go back and we lost around four or five minutes there," said a disappointed Peterhansel. "Then it was a sequence of punctures. We only had three spare wheels and it was necessary to stop and regularly inflate the last wheel. This was not what we wanted before the rest day."

"We were running really well, but crossing the dunes we missed a waypoint and had to go back and we lost around four or five minutes there," said a disappointed Peterhansel. "Then it was a sequence of punctures. We only had three spare wheels and it was necessary to stop and regularly inflate the last wheel. This was not what we wanted before the rest day."

"Stephane drove very well, but four punctures on a car with three spares is always going to be a problem," said team director Sven Quandt. "He needed to use the pressure bottle in the car to re-inflate the last tyre to get to the end. He lost a lot of time and that means he is some distance behind. It will be difficult to challenge for the victory now, but we will do our best.

"Guerlain drove very well in the Mini. He was driving carefully and is now inside the top 10, which is great. We now need to analyse the stages that we have left and where we could possibly get some time back. We know from last year that this will not be easy, but there are some stages where we can make up some time."

Krzysztof Holowczyc and Jean-Marc Fortin were classified sixth through the first two passage controls, but slipped to seventh behind Chicherit's Mini at PC3. The Pole regained sixth place after 363km and went on to complete the special in sixth position and returned to Arica in fifth in the general classification.

Orlando Terranova and Filipe Palmeiro began the special seventh on the road and were a virtual eighth through PC2, PC3 and PC4. The Argentine reached the finish of the stage in eighth position and slipped behind Mark Miller into seventh in the overall rankings.

After stopping to support Chicherit on stage five, Ricardo Leal Dos Santos and Paulo Fiщza lost further time when they became stuck in soft sand, but the Portuguese crew started stage six in 12th position nonetheless and in a similar position on the stage. Dos Santos held ninth through PCs one and two and 10th at PC3. They completed the special in 10th position.

Stephan Schott and Holm Schmidt were baldy delayed with broken suspension on the stage into Iquique and were forced to wait for the MAN race truck for repairs to be made to their KS Tools-backed X-raid BMW X3 CC.

The German duo eventually finished the fifth stage in 44th - having dropped over six hours on the special - but they actually gained a position in the overall standings and began the stage into Arica from 26th overall and 42nd on the road. Schott was running 20th fastest through the first two passage controls and up to 19th through PC3.

Andrea Mayer, Thomas Baumann and Phillip Beier had stopped to support Schott on the stage and were delayed themselves in the MAN race truck. But matters went from bad to worse for the German crew, when they became bogged down in soft sand in the dunes towards the end of the fifth special and arrived in the Iquique bivouac at 02.41hrs on Friday morning. They had finished the stage in 37th position in the trucks category and started the subsequent special at 11.50hrs from 36th on the road.

Stage 6

Today's 456km special stage started on sandy tracks and through a series of dunes after a short 38km liaison from the coastal bivouac in Iquique. There were four PCs -- at the 70km, 82km, 224km and 363km points -- as the special headed south from Iquique before turning north and running up the Pacific coastline to finish 228km from the bivouac, situated by the sea at the autodrome, near Arica.

Al-Attiyah managed to squeeze in front of Peterhansel through the first two passage controls, although the Qatari was only running 10 seconds in front of the leading BMW on the special and was not taking advantage of the fact that Peterhansel was the first driver on the stage.

The Monster Energy X-raid driver had regained the virtual stage lead by the third passage control and had edged into a 46s advantage over Al-Attiyah with Sainz running in third place, 1m 16s behind. Al-Attiyah began to close on Peterhansel as the leaders approached the fourth PC and managed to pass the BMW when Peterhansel was forced to stop and change a flat tyre -- his third on the Dakar in four stages - after approximately 305km. This delay handed the virtual stage advantage to Sainz, as the leading trio closed in on PC4.

Sainz found himself in a commanding lead at the 363km point -- 1m 25s in front of Al-Attiyah and 7m 01s ahead of the struggling Peterhansel, who was forced to stop and change no less than four tyres in the last 100km of the special. Sainz held on to confirm his fourth stage win of the event and take a 2m 42s advantage over Al-Attiyah into the rest day.

Arica is an oasis town situated just 18km from the Peruvian frontier. It was a crucial port for the Spanish empire in world history and is the capital of the newly-formed Arica and Parinacota region. It is known as the 'city of the eternal spring' and is one of the driest inhabited places on the planet. A popular tourist destination, it is also a major transport hub for road and business links with Bolivia and Peru.

Tomorrow

Tomorrow (Saturday) is the traditional rest day on the Dakar Rally, with Arica hosting the event's day off for the first time. Crews will be able to take much-needed rest and mechanics and engineers will be able to re-fettle the cars before the second half of the 33rd Dakar Rally begins on Sunday between Arica and Antofagasta.

-source: dakar

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About this article
Series Dakar
Drivers Mark Miller , Carlos Sainz , Stéphane Peterhansel , Andrea Mayer , Krzysztof Holowczyc , Jean-Marc Fortin , Thomas Baumann , Filipe Palmeiro , Stephan Schott , Holm Schmidt , Orlando Terranova , Ricardo Leal Dos Santos