Team Dakar USA Stage 4 Update: Jacobacci to Neuguen Neuguen, Argentina (January 6, 2009) -- Stage 4 of the Dakar Rally was completed today, placing physical demand on the competitors and the race vehicles. At the beginning of the 459-km stage,...
Team Dakar USA Stage 4 Update: Jacobacci to Neuguen
Neuguen, Argentina (January 6, 2009) -- Stage 4 of the Dakar Rally was completed today, placing physical demand on the competitors and the race vehicles. At the beginning of the 459-km stage, the race course was very rocky, followed by a lengthy sandy section. The section towards Neuguen was the most difficult as the terrain changed several times before the conclusion of the stage, allowing the competitors to show their skills as they headed towards the finish line. Please reference the below profile for more details of the terrain changes.
Robby Gordon and the No. 309 Monster Energy Toyo Tires Hummer started today's special from the tenth position. When Gordon and his navigator, Andy Grider passed the first checkpoint, they were in fourth place, making their way to the front of the field. Everything was going according to plan until kilometer 379. One of the A.S.O. safety requirements is that each vehicle be equipped with a Sentinel, which is basically a loud buzzer and light that lets competitors know that you want to pass. Gordon was attempting to pass a slower car, so he buzzed the Sentinel a couple of times. As he was attempting to pass, the other driver turned left while Gordon continued straight, ultimately colliding with a ditch and causing the Monster Energy Hummer to roll. After accessing the damage, Gordon and Grider quickly got back in the race vehicle and continued towards the finish line. They were able to salvage a tenth place in today's special, finishing just 12:13 minutes behind the leader, Carlos Sainz. The American duo is currently ninth overall, just 46:45 minutes behind the leader.
"I am disappointed that we rolled the Monster Energy Toyo Tires Hummer today. Luckily, the damage is minimal and can be repaired this evening before tomorrow's special. Once it happened, Andy and I jumped out to assess the damage. When we saw that all four tires were still on the Hummer, we quickly buckled back in and continued towards the finish," stated Gordon. "It looks like we only need to replace the air filter housing, the right side door and the windshield along with a few suspension parts. While making these repairs, the team will carefully go over every inch of the car to ensure that there are no broken parts or hidden damage. We should be ready to 'roll' tomorrow," commented Gordon on the events surrounding stage 4.
The No. 324 Vanguard Hummer ended the special in 62nd place. "We lost a power steering pump bracket yesterday, which is a part that has never failed Team Dakar USA before. Alex and I were able to repair the part, but we lost a significant amount of time doing so. We stayed positive and finished the special. Since we didn't have a good finish yesterday, we had to start farther back today. Our strategy was just to be cautious today and do what we needed to do to make it to the final stage," stated Eric Vigouroux, driver of the No. 324 Vanguard Hummer.
The Dakar Rally will travel from Neuguen to San Rafael tomorrow for stage 5.