McRae takes the lead of the Dakar... McRae set the fastest time over today's 10-km loop around Grenada, also claiming the overall lead. Ari Vatanen and Giniel de Villiers made it a fine group finish for the Nissan cars, with 3rd and 4th places...
McRae takes the lead of the Dakar...
McRae set the fastest time over today's 10-km loop around Grenada, also claiming the overall lead. Ari Vatanen and Giniel de Villiers made it a fine group finish for the Nissan cars, with 3rd and 4th places in today's special stage. Overall, there are two Pickup N05 cars in the top three.
After yesterday's extremely long liaison sector - over 900 km - between Barcelona and Granada - the Nissan Rally Raid Team put in a brilliant performance in today's second stage, placing three Pickup cars in the top four. Over a stage which perfectly suited his driving style, Colin McRae set the best time ahead of Stéphane Peterhansel, Ari Vatanen and Giniel de Villiers.
The Scottish driver was far from displeased with his result, and seemed to have enjoyed driving over the terrain : "My personal aim was to reach Africa in the top three. I am not at all unhappy to have succeeded. Moreover, I really had fun today. It was very slippery, and very good to drive. A relatively short stage, but one I really enjoyed. Tomorrow will see our first African stage. The serious business will soon get underway..."
Extremely relaxed, Ari Vatanen said that the years had fallen away..."It was really great fun today. The ground was slippery, with a lot of corners, and I was not too slow ! We slid around very well, it was really great. And as soon as the conditions get slippery, I feel years younger..."
Giniel de Villiers also had fun : "That was nothing like the conditions we saw in Barcelona. It was a good stage, a bit slippery, with some jumps, but it was a thousand times nicer than the first special stage. I really enjoyed myself, it was great."
Today's results brought a smile to the Team Manager, Gilles Martineau: "I am very happy with the whole team's performance. Colin set his third Dakar stage win (after claiming two in 2004) and took the lead as well. It was exactly what he wanted to do before arriving in Morocco. This was the first win for the Pickup N05. Hopefully the first of many..."
Tomorrow, the competitors will face their first African stage, between Rabat and Agadir : a 123-km special stage which should perfectly suit the rally drivers. But the navigators could have a difficult time, as they will have to negotiate numerous changes of direction.