Gordon down but not out! WINS Stage 12
Nasca, Peru (January 13, 2012) - Over the last couple of days during the 2012 Dakar Rally, Team SPEED and Robby Gordon have had to defend themselves after being accused of having an air inflation system that gives them an advantage. To prove a point, Gordon took it upon himself to show the media his entire system and how it worked last night in the bivouac in Arequipa, Peru. He even went so far as cutting the line that was in question and plugging it. He will run the rest of the rally without a vacuum system placed on his car.
Given the controversy and a terrible Stage 10 and 11, Gordon and Campbell had something to prove - they were down but certainly not out. The liaison section started at 4:35 a.m. for the cars because the start of the special stage was 412 km away, making it a long day for drivers and teams. Upon arrival, the cars would compete in the 245km special to the town of Nasca. The American duo would become a fierce force to be reckoned with in the dunes.
Mixed in with the truck class, Gordon started 30th, the 22nd car to take time. This would put the team behind many vehicles, which kicked up a lot of dust. Working their way through the slower cars, they would end up leading the special after the 1st waypoint, a lead that they would never give up.
Through the last 100km of dunes, top teams including Peterhansel and Roma would get stuck in the sand losing precious minutes to Gordon as he carried on his way to another stage victory. Novitskiy, one of the faster MINIs through the dunes, would be the closest to Gordon, was still over 15 minutes behind.
"Winning by 15 minutes with our system that was plugged just proves our point that it had no advantage. I'm quite confident that we'll win our appeal and put it all behind us. From here on out I'm going to try to win every stage. Peru has amazing dunes. Some of the craziest dunes I've ever driven on. Tons of "witch eyes" that can either get you stuck or lost. Fortunate from us we had no problems like the others did and laid down a huge time on the stage to win. Very proud of my team and this car. I made a mistake yestersday by fixing a CV boot where if I just packed it with grease it could have put us in a position to win the Rally but we'll take what we can get and try and beat our competitors over the last two stages," Gordon said after this 2nd stage win of the 2012 Dakar Rally.
With their domination of Stage 12, Gordon and Campbell now find themselves in a better position for a podium spot when the Rally concludes in just two days. They are still in 4th position overall but only 36 minutes from third place and 1hr and 44mins from first. The two Americans know they are not here to give up the fight and look for their third stage win tomorrow from Nasca to Pisco, featuring another long special stage full of dunes where anything can happen.