Great Day for Gordon; End of Rally for Nasser
Iquique, Chile (January 10, 2012) - Robby Gordon and the No. 303 SPEED Energy/Toyo Tires HUMMER dominated Stage 9 of the 2012 Dakar Rally, winning by 1 minute and 38 seconds over Stephane Peterhansel. Gordon, with the help of his navigator Johnny Campbell, lead the entire stage with 3 MINIs breathing down their necks.
Unfortunately, Nasser Al-Attiyah's day would end completely different. Al-Attiyah encountered the same issue today as he did yesterday when a serpentine belt popped off, not once but three times. Using all of his spares, Al-Attiyah was stranded near KM 200 of the 556 km stage. Being more than an hour down to the overall leader, Al-Attiyah made the tough decision to end his efforts for a repeat championship and dropped out of the stage.
To have the No. 300 Qatar HUMMER withdraw from the race is a huge disappointment, but Team SPEED knows what an accomplishment it is to win two stages and overcome the adversity the team faced during the first half of the rally.
For Gordon and Campbell, the race to become the first Americans to win Dakar lives on. Winning Stage 9 win marks Gordon's 5th special stage victory during a Dakar Rally. Gordon is now only 5 minutes and 58 seconds behind overall leader Stephane Peterhansel with only five stages remaining.
Late after his stage win Gordon commented on how his team have prepared a winning car, "These guys just didn't go to sleep after last years disappointment - they went to work. My guys have flat killed it. They have worked really hard and it's a tough battle. I'm lucky to have a great, great group of guys that are dedicated from the heart - they bleed orange and we're going to have some fun trying to win this rally. I'm sad to see Nasser go but if he doesn't want to drive the car then so be it. It just gives me more support more equipment and three more mechanics to go after this thing."
Team SPEED will work through the night to prepare the No. 303 SPEED Energy/Toyo Tires HUMMER for Stage 10 of the rally, which will take the competitors from Iquique to Arica.