ALDO Racing Marathon Stage 7 & 8 report from the 2015 Dakar
Montreal - January 11, 2015 - The ALDO Racing team of David Bensadoun and Patrick Beaulé completed a successful run in the two-day marathon stage that sent them from Iquique, Chile to Uyuni, Bolivia and back via two different routes. The marathon test was the first for the Canadian tandem whose goal was to return the Toyota Tacoma to Iquique in running condition.
Starting 35th on Sunday at checkpoint 8, their Toyota got stuck on a sand bank, losing 12 minutes in the process, and crossed the next checkpoint twenty positions down. Once again, driver David Bensadoun climbed back up the charts to finish 40th on the day.
Now that the crucial two-day marathon stage is over, the ALDO drivers will take a day off in Iquique, while their mechanics, led by Yvan Turcotte, will fix the Toyota prior to their trek south to Buenos Aires. With five more days of tough rallying stages to go, ALDO has high hopes of a very good finish.
"The altitudes in Uyuni had some effect on the both of us, especially David whose reaction time was 1/10 of a second slower than usual," said Patrick Beaulé. "We missed a corner in the first sector and got high and jacked on a sand bank. It took about 10 to 12 minutes to get the Toyota out of it, and then we were stuck behind slower cars that were hard to pass."
"The start on the flat white sands of the Salar was amazing. David had the pedal to the metal for 133 km at a speed of 170 km/h for at least 50 minutes!!! Then, we ran 30 km on pretty destroyed roads full of huge rocks and washouts. At the end, we managed to bring the car home in good shape."
After moving up two positions to 35th overall in the general standings after Stage 7, ALDO Racing maintained its position following Stage 8.
Terranova and Alrajhi split top honours on Stages 7 and 8 at the Dakar
After a flawless performance in Stage 7, Argentinean Orlando Terranova scored his third win of the 2015 Dakar. His Mini crossed the finish line ahead of the Toyotas of Saudi rookie Yazeed Alrajhi and Dutchman Bernhard Ten Brinke. On Sunday, Alrajhi won his first-ever Dakar stage, and offered Toyota its first win in 2015, finishing ahead of Terranova and Nasser Al Al-Attiyah.
Dakar overall standings after 8
With three wins to his credit with his Mini, Nasser Al-Attiyah of Qatar is still ahead in the standings with a lead of 8 minutes and 27 seconds on Toyota driver Giniel de Villiers from South Africa. Yazeed Alrajhi, also driving a Toyota, sits in third place, 18 minutes behind the leader.
Recap of Marathon Stage 7 on Wednesday, January 10 - Iquique > Uyuni
Bensadoun rebounded with a solid performance on Day 7 after a start that saw his ALDO Toyota slip from 30th to 41st place at the end of a mud-filled puddles first special sector. "Nothing happened in the first sector," commented Bensadoun. "We drove very carefully and I guess many others were faster. Our safe pace paid off towards the end because many got lost and/or crashed."
Aided by his navigator Beaulé, Bensadoun gained 10 positions in the last seven special stages held in the high mountains of Bolivia, to finish the marathon stage in Uyuni 31st on the day. "We made it to Uyuni with no flat tire nor mechanical breakdown, but we are very tired and are having a hard time concentrating and breathing," said Beaulé. "It rained all day and the roads were very slippery with big washouts on each side of the trails."
ALDO Racing finish position following Stage 7: 31st
ALDO Racing overall standings following Stage 7: 35th
ALDO Racing finish position following Stage 8: 40th
ALDO Racing overall standings following Stage 8: 35th
The next press release will be issue Tuesday, January 13 following Stage 9 ending at Calama.