Driver

Krzysztof Holowczyc

Robb Pritchard: Reflections on 2011 Dakar

There is one race that stands alongside the likes of the Le Mans and Daytona 24 Hours, the Baja 1000 and Indy 500 as a stand alone event so highly regarded that it doesn't need to be part of any championship... one where legends win, heroes finish and the rest dream only to take part in the event. Household names like Jacky Ickx, Ari Vatanen, Juha Kankunen and Stephane Peterhansel have conquered the deserts to hold the winner's trophy aloft while others have given their lives trying. Manufacturers such as Porsche, Mitsubishi, Peugeot, Citroen and Volkswagen have thrown their factory might behind teams and to win it takes as much effort, skill and dedication as the F1 world championship or the WRC.

It easily attracts superlatives to itself with ease like the biggest, longest, hardest, and for anyone who has an idea about what is involved to get to the finish there is just one word to suffice: the ultimate. It can be no other event. It is The Dakar. ...

2011 Dakar final standings - Car

Pos Num Drivers Nat Make/Model Time Gap to 1st Penalties ---- --- ------------------------------------------------------- ------ ------------------------- ---------- ---------- --------- 1. 302 Nasser Al-Attiyah, Timo Gottschalk QAT Volkswagen Race Touareg 3 21:16:16 - - 2. 308 Giniel De Villiers, Dirk Von Zitzewitz ZA Volkswagen Race Touareg 3 22:05:57 0:49:41 - 3. 300 Carlos Sainz, Lucas Cruz E Volkswagen Race Touareg 3 22:36:54 1:20:38 - 4. 301 Stephane Peterhansel, Jean-Paul Cottret F BMW X3CC 23:00:04 1:43:48 - 5. 307 Krzysztof Holowczyc, Jean-Marc Fortin PL BMW X3CC 1:27:37 4:11:21 - 6. 304 Mark Miller, Ralph Pitchford USA Volkswagen Race Touareg 3 2:10:58 4:54:42 - ...

Al-Attiyah now an hour ahead as Sainz falters

"It's all over now, baby blue" - Bob Dylan

It was only a small error that caught out former leader Carlos Sainz yesterday, his Touareg bellied out on just a 2 meter high crest of sand and suddenly his hopes of victory, which had been 'almost assured' a couple of days ago, were downgraded to 'remote'. It just goes to show that nothing is written in stone in the Dakar... until the last stage is over, it's written only in sand.

The stage was laid out in two halves separated by a 160km 'neutralized section' and was shortened by 100km due to heavy rains washing away some of the course, so 622km of mountain tracks high in the Andes is what awaited the competitors. And Sainz had a mountain to climb, both literally and figuratively as the route climbed to a pass at some 3400 meters above sea level. Somewhat harder to overcome though was his VW team mate Nasser Al- Attiyah and as an indication of how hard the pace has been all through the ...

Mammoth stage has high drama as de Villiers wins

If anyone was under-whelmed by the tactical antics of the leaders yesterday then the high drama played out on the dunes on Stage 10 today should be enough to compensate...

The crews broke camp in the pre-dawn darkness for nearly 700km of road section across the border and back into Argentina to start the 176km long 10th Stage, but Stephane Peterhansel almost didn't make it. Something broke in his gearbox and his support crew had to scramble around frantically to fix it in time to be able to get to the start line without penalty.

But the day started much worse for Carlos Sainz. He got badly stuck in the dunes near the beginning of the stage and his chances of a second straight win ran through his fingers like the sand he was furiously shoveling from around his wheels. At the first CP he was down in 12th place 9' 15" behind his team-mate and nemesis Nasser Al-Attiyah... who in turn was just a scant second ahead of a hard-charging Peterhansel, what ever was wrong with his ...