Mendoza, Argentina (January 8, 2009) -- Due to the difficulty of yesterday's stage, the A.S.O. decided to delay the start of today's special by two hours while also shortening it from 395 km to 178 km due to an impassable river ford. The No. 309...
Mendoza, Argentina (January 8, 2009) -- Due to the difficulty of yesterday's stage, the A.S.O. decided to delay the start of today's special by two hours while also shortening it from 395 km to 178 km due to an impassable river ford. The No. 309 Monster Energy Toyo Tires Hummer rolled off the starting line in third place, while teammate Eric Vigouroux started the day in 28th.
With a total of 385 competitors still fighting for the coveted Dakar Rally title, Team Dakar USA started the day with high hopes. Unfortunately, the No. 309 team lost their way early in today's race, losing valuable minutes to the leaders. They were able to recover from this error by ending the day in eighth place, posting a time of 2 hours, 44 minutes. The pair moved to sixth in the overall standings after leader Nasser Al-Attiyah was apparently disqualified by the A.S.O. for a rule violation for not passing through all checkpoints in route from San Rafael to Mendoza.
"I am obviously very disappointed that we got lost today. I am going to say that it costs us about 35 minutes and was just a huge mistake. I missed a waypoint and started heading the wrong way. It took a while to recover from this, but luckily we were able to do so. Towards the end of the stage, the Monster Energy Toyo Tires Hummer was doing great. I am still going to say that we had a decent finish in spite of today's incident. The team will go to work tonight doing normal maintenance on the Hummer, and we will be ready to go tomorrow morning," commented a frustrated Robby Gordon on today's stage.
"On a positive note, I can't say enough good things about the team that we have put together for this year's Dakar Rally. I think that everyone is doing an excellent job getting the Hummers prepared for each special. After the first couple of days, this has really become a science to them, and I couldn't be happier with their work and dedication to this program," remarked Gordon on the 2009 Team Dakar USA members.
The No. 324 Vanguard Hummer had an impressive showing in stage 6. After starting the special from the 28th position, Eric Vigouroux and Alex Winocq quickly made their way through the field, finishing 14th with a time of 3 hours, 14 minutes.
"We had a great run today. I can't tell you how much better it was starting up towards the front than in the back. All things considered, we are just keeping our heads high and working our way back to the front. We haven't even completed half of the race yet, so there is still time for us to regain some lost ground. I hope that we can continue our charge to the front. I would love to see the Vanguard Hummer end the 2009 Dakar Rally in the top-20," commented Eric Vigouroux, driver of the No. 324 Vanguard Hummer.
Friday's route is a 419-km drive from Mendoza to Valparaiso. Tune into the Versus (VS) network and robbygordon.com for daily Dakar Rally highlights.