Gordon on podium once again, Nasser finds trouble late in stage
Fiambala, Argentina (January 5, 2012) - Robby Gordon and his SPEED Energy/Toyo Tires HUMMER did exactly what needed to be done in the 5th stage of the Dakar Rally to gain time and position in the overall standings. The same can't be said for his teammate, Qatarian driver, Nasser Al-Attiyah, as a costly mistake could diminish his hopes for another Dakar Rally overall victory.
Gordon started off the line in 14th place quickly setting a pace as one of the fastest cars in the dunes today. This stage, taking the competitors from Chilecito to Fiambala, had to be shortened due to large amounts of rain in the area.
Nasser Al-Attiyah jumped out to an early lead with Robby Gordon right on his tail. Gordon talked about his solid run, "we ran together for a good part of the stage. He ran his car pretty hard so I figured if that's what he wants to do then that's okay. I just didn't want him to get too far out front from me. For us it was good, just what we wanted. If it wasn't for stopping to aid Nasser when he had problems, I'm sure we could have won yet another stage. Today showed what our cars are capable of in the sand and I look forward to progressing further into the rally on the days to come."
After leading nearly the entire special, Al-Attiyah would encounter problems towards the end and found himself losing even more minutes to the overall leader. Pushing his HUMMER to the limit would cause him to bottom out and bend the frame near the rear of the race vehicle that surrounds the motor; therefore resulting in spare wheel rubbing against the water lines causing slight damage but not enough to hurt the motor since Nasser stopped just in time and fixed the problem.
"Even though he may be down in time again, the positive side of it is that he is capable of winning stages. He must keep his head up and keep digging. Racers don't run the Dakar to come here and quit." Gordon said about Al-Attiyah being nearly an hour down now to the leader.
With Gordon gaining 3 minutes and now sitting in 4th place overall, he knows consistency is a must for him and his SPEED Energy/Toyo Tires team. Tomorrow is a long stage for everyone as the teams cross the Andes into Chile. Gordon looks to post another top 5 finish, which would be his 5th out of 6 stages. Al-Attiyah will look for redemption as he will try for his second stage victory in the 2012 Dakar Rally.