Team Dakar USA Stage 7 Update: Mendoza to Valparaiso

Valparaiso, Chile (January 9, 2009) -- Team Dakar USA shined in today's special from Mendoza, Argentina to Valparaiso, Chile. Collectively, the Monster Energy Toyo Tires Hummer and the Vanguard Hummer offered spectacular performances through the diverse terrains and landscapes of both Argentina and Chile. Robby Gordon and Andy Grider ended the special in third, while teammates Eric Vigouroux and Alex Winocq finished seventh.

The A.S.O. decided to once again shorten the route due to the difficulties encountered on the last section of dunes in the yesterday's special. Today's stage was abbreviated from 419 km to roughly 243 km, moving the finish line to the initially planned CP1.

"Today was a very good day for Team Dakar USA. I believe that we could have won today's stage if we had not had to slow down for mud in a dry lake bed. It rained here a couple days ago, so the lake bed was very slippery, forcing us to be conservative during this section so that we did not get stuck. We still finished third, 4:13 minutes behind Carlos Sainz. We were also able to jump to fifth in the overall standings. All in all, I am happy with where we ended up," stated Robby Gordon on the occurrences in the 7th stage of the Dakar Rally.

"We had a great run today. I can't begin to tell you how excited Alex and I are that we were able to finish today's special in the top-10. Even though we got stuck in the mud, we were able recover very fast and not lose too much time. We finished seventh, 11:30 minutes behind Sainz and about 7 minutes behind the Monster team," exclaimed Eric Vigouroux of his No. 324 Vanguard Hummer.

At the conclusion of today's special, the No. 309 Monster Energy Toyo Tires Hummer is fifth in the 2009 Dakar Rally overall standings, 1 hour, 8 minutes behind the new leader, Carlos Sainz. The No. 324 Vanguard Hummer is currently 26th and will improve on this during the second half of the Dakar Rally.

Tomorrow marks a rest day for the Dakar Rally competitors. Racing action will resume on Sunday, January 11th when the route heads from Valparaiso to La Serena for stage 8.

Don't forget to tune into and the Versus (VS) network for daily Dakar highlights.