ALDO Racing Stages 10 & 11 report from the 2015 Dakar.
Montreal - Canadians David Bensadoun and Patrick Beaulé of the ALDO Racing Team kept on trucking following their disastrous day last Tuesday, and rebounded with very strong performances over the last two days as they try to secure a top-30 finish in their class at the 2015 Dakar Rally, scheduled to conclude Saturday in Buenos Aires.
These big trucks, that left ahead of us, spray so much dust when they run that it is impossible to pass them without the risk of an accident.
From 51st on Day 2 on January 6, they climbed back up the field and now find themselves 32nd overall in the standings following stage 11 of 13 of the Dakar.
"The 52-minute gap separating us in the overall standings from the car ahead of us is too great to hope to overtake them in the final two days of the rally," said David Bensadoun. "Let's be practical, the only way we are going to move up the standings is if teams ahead of us are desperate enough to take a chance to move up the standings, and there are probably a lot of them willing to do that.
I see at least six groups that include 15 cars that will take their chances. There will undoubtedly be a lot of clashes, as competitors will be battling in the longest cross-country journey on this penultimate day. I do not wish harm to anyone, but I will appreciate their combative attitude if it can benefit our cause."
With a 31st-place finish in Stage 11 on Thursday, only 14 minutes behind the stage winner, the ALDO Team has been on a forward progress mode despite all the hardships. "To complicate matters, the organizers decided today to group the big T4 trucks with the cars for this section on Thursday," continued Bensadoun.
"These big trucks, that left ahead of us, spray so much dust when they run that it is impossible to pass them without the risk of an accident. Our strategy was to make sure we kept on the edge of the dust cloud to blind our pursuers so that they would not take any foolish chances. This is war."
Friday will be one of the toughest days of the rally prior to the final day, which should be a breeze run to the finish line in Buenos Aires.
Recap of Wednesday's Stage 10
Early on Wednesday afternoon, the ALDO Toyota left Chile and crossed into Argentina, to begin the day's special stage on the Salinas Grandes, more than 3,600 metres above sea level. The 371-kilometre special stage posed no problems for the Canadian team who performed flawlessly, crossing the finish line 37th overall, only 40 minutes behind stage winner Nasser Al-Attiyah.
"We started in 75th because we were mixed with the T4 trucks on the grid," Beaulé said. "We passed a lot of cars and both David and I were pretty dialed-in. We sadly had a left front flat, and got passed by four vehicles. We got stuck behind the dust of three of the four cars we could not pass for the last 100 km. We are very happy with our day of work."
ALDO Racing finish position following Stage 10: 37th
ALDO Racing overall standings following Stage 10: 34th
ALDO Racing finish position following Stage 11: 31st
ALDO Racing overall standings following Stage 11: 32nd