ALDO Racing Stages 12 & 13 report from the 2015 Dakar
Montreal - The final Special Stage section of the 2015 Dakar Rally, reduced to 34 kilometres from its original 174 km due to unsafe roads, prevented the ALDO Racing Team from having a go at the Nissan Navarra of South African, Johan van Straden, which was 31st overall, one spot ahead of the ALDO Toyota.
From the get go, David Bensadoun went all out, cutting six minutes from the lead of his rival in the first 34-kilometre sector, to cross the checkpoint 23rd overall, and reducing van Straden's lead to 28 minutes. Heavy rain rendered the course very slippery and unsafe, forcing the organizers to cancel the timing and scoring of the special stage in the last 140 kilometres.
"Driving conditions were at their worst during this stage," said navigator Patrick Beaulé. "Rain, plus dusty roads equal very slippery conditions! After the first checkpoint, we were directed towards the main highway to complete our journey where many fans were waiting to greet competitors."
The ALDO Team ran a brilliant rally
At the end of Day 1, they were 47th overall, and then fell back four more spots on Day 2. They started their climb up the general standings to finish 32nd overall and fifth in the privateer class after more than 9000 kilometres of rough roads. Thirty-second overall is the all-time best finish for ALDO Racing since Bensadoun and Beaulé were named rookies of the year in 2012 after finishing 39th.
"We can say mission accomplished! We're feeling great," continued Beaulé. "Our goal was to be competitive and not be marked as survivors! The level of competition was extremely high this year with at least 50 cars capable of top ten results. We ended up 32nd and in the top 5 of the non FIA Elite drivers."
Nasser Al-Attiya Wins his second Dakar
American Robby Gordon won his first stage of the 2015 Dakar, but top honours went to Nasser Al-Attiya of Qatar, who won his second Dakar, a race he dominated with his Mini from start to finish. South African Giniel de Villier placed his Toyota second overall, ahead of Krzystof Holowczyc of Poland, in a Mini.
Recap of Friday's Stage 12
Sixty-eight cars started Stage 12 of the 2015 Dakar and 68 made it to the finish line in Friday's very long 1,024-kilometre ride from Termas Rio Hondo to Rosario, the last bivouac before the finish in Buenos Aires.
"We had a very good special stage," said Beaulé. "David (Bensadoun) was very focused and smart and I was very concentrated and timed with the odometer! We help Dabrowski (Polish driver Marek Dabrowski) get his #311 Toyota back on its wheels and later saw two other Toyota Overdrives rolled!
Starting 31st on the day, ALDO Toyota driver David Bensadoun gained seven positions to cross the finish line 24th overall, only 17 minutes, 38 seconds behind stage winner Orlando Terranova of Argentina. Even though they gained seven positions on the day, the Canadian team was still 32nd in the general standings. They were fifth overall in the privateer entry standings.
"We managed to increase the gap between the team (#368 BMW of Beaupre Piotr of Poland) behind us in the general standings and closed the gap with the team in front of us." The gap, between the ALDO Toyota and the Nissan Navarra of South African Johan van Straden ahead in 31st place, stood at 34 minutes, down from 53 minutes on Thursday. However, we don't think that our position in the general standings will change much unless someone in front of us retires Saturday." It did not happen!
ALDO Racing finish position following Stage 12:
24th - 14 m 06 s from the winner of the stage
ALDO Racing overall standings following Stage 12: 32nd
ALDO Racing finish position following Stage 13:
23rd - 3 m 31 s from the winner of the stage
ALDO Racing FINAL standings at the 2015 Dakar:
32nd - 14 h 25 m 14 s from the winner of the Dakar