T2: no rivals for Mitsuhashi
Last year's winner of the T2 category in front of Spaniard Javier Foj, Jun Mitsuhashi is faced with a mainly open road to regaining his title for the production car race. His main and regular rival was not able to have his technical changes validated and as a result is not included in the category. This situation has not prevented the two competitors from racing each other as usual. The Japanese driver, 26th, leads the Spaniard, in 29th, by a small margin. For Alain Guehennec, co-pilot since the last Rally of the Pharaohs on which they finished 3rd in the general standings, the race is still the race: "It's interesting to compete in this category. In sport, it's always good to try and achieve something." This philosophy is one that the Team Land Cruiser Toyota Auto Body is putting into practice on a large scale. What's more, they are using fuel made from oil collected from institutional restaurants in Japan, "to show that it's possible to be competitive whilst using alternative solutions" states Okuchi Hiroyaki, the team manager.
A slow start on 2 wheels for Argentina
Whilst the Argentineans excel in the quad category, with three representatives in the Top 5 (Sebastian Halpern, Sergio La Fuente and Alejandro Patronelli), and are just as well placed in the car race thanks to the 7th position in the general standings held by Orlando Terranova, their expertise is less visible in the bike race. After two stages, the best of the 20 riders enrolled on two wheels is in 56th place in the general standings. This rider is Rodolfo Bollero, 'winner' of the race to be Argentina's best rider in the 2010 edition. "For the moment, the race hasn't really started for me. But over the last two days, I have realised what it means to have been the leading rider in my country last year. I've spotted banners with my name on everywhere. The spectators all know who I am -- it's fantastic".As regards the winner of this year's honorary title, many experts are counting on the potential of Javier Pizzolito. The unlucky rider whose bike burned in the secure enclosure even before the starting ceremony of the 2010 edition has no equal when it comes to the Argentinean all-terrain rally championship. However, on the Dakar, success does not seem to be within his grasp. With the race near to leaving the country to enter Chile, he is only in 95th place in the general standings.
The little Panda parade
There are two of them, they are red, are inseparable and quite frankly are not in the same league as the X3s or the Hummers. After two stages, the little 4x4 Fiat Pandas belonging to Team PanDakar are making their way happily along. The aim of the game is for the Calubini-Verzeletti and Moro-Dal Pra crews to simply finish the Dakar. To do this, they have decided to make the adventure together. "The first to start the special stops and waits for the other," explains Loris Calubini, "And we don't let each other out of sight. We both help each other and what's more, we have a quick assistance truck which is ready to intervene when needed". The hardest is yet to come for these littlest of the rally's competitors, currently 123rd and 125th, hardly suited to Chile's sand dunes. Another of the Italian clan's goals is to go further than references in the matter such as Miki Biasion and Bruno Saby who set out on the Dakar 2007 behind the wheel of these very same vehicles, without finishing the event.
Dakar standings after stage 3 - Bike
Team Aprilia Giofil stage 3 report