TERMAS DE RO HONDO, Argentina - Qatari driver Nasser al-Attiyah continued his dominance of the 2015 Dakar Rally on Thursday (Jan 15) as he won his fifth car stage and closed in on a second success after his maiden win in 2011.
OUT OF THE DESERT AT LAST: Mini driver Nasser al-Attiyah and Matthieu Baumel on Stage 11 of the 2015 Dakar between Salta and Termas de Rio Hondo, Argentina after passing through Bolivia and Chile. Image: AP / Felipe Dana
The 44-year-old drove his Mini to a 27sec win over team mate Orlando Terranova on the 520km route (194km timed) from Salta to Termas de Rio Hondo.
South African Giniel de Villiers / Dirk von Zitzewitz and his SA-built Toyota Hilux were s third, 39sec back on the stage, but still second overall.
DE VILLIERS 30MIN BEHIND
It was the 10th win in 11 stages for the Mini team which now stands on the brink of a fourth success in the gruelling annual event.
Al-Attiyah now holds an overall lead of nearly 30min on De Villiers with two days until the finish at Buenos Aires, where the race began. He said after the stage:
"I'm quite happy today just to finish the stage. It was 194km of very fast tracks, like a World Rally championship race with a lot of spectators.
"We opened the road and that meant we had a good base and we didn't push a lot. We're just trying to keep it like this. It's very hard, the Dakar - when we started on the second day it was not easy until today.
"Now we'll try to bring everything back to Buenos Aires and to win this Dakar because it will be very important for me, for my sponsor Red Bull, for Qatar, for everybody who supports me.
"You need to be careful, even until the podium. When you finish the Dakar, it's only finished after the podium."
Defending champion Nani Roma of Spain was unable to start the stage although his chances of winning the race were already beyond doubt. See what happened to him in the video at the end of this article.
Spaniard Joan Barreda rode his Honda to a second straight stage win and fourth overall while standings leader Marc Coma comfortably protected his advantage with two days to go.
The riders raced across 523km (298km timed) of fast terrain to Termas de Rio Hondo as KTM rider Coma coasted home sixth with the knowledge that his closest rival, Paulo Goncalves, (Honda) had been penalised 15min on Wednesday for changing his engine.
Coma said: "We've managed to get through it but it's always stressful when you have to work on the bike, but everything is OK. There is still a difficult day to complete tomorrow (Friday) then again on Saturday.
“I'm not thinking about the finish yet. We'll see, because there are still a fair few kilometres to go - but for the moment I'm happy".
Portugal's Goncalves finished second behind Barreda, who followed on from his stage win on Wednesday, but now trails Spain's Coma by nearly 20min with Australian Toby Price (KTM) third at more than 31min.
Barreda picked up his 14th overall stage win on the race and would have been higher up the rankings had he not lost more than four hours with mechanical problems on the stage to Chile's Pacific Coast the previous Monday.
Coma's Austrian KTM team is now just two days from arrival in Buenos Aires and a 14th consecutive triumph in the gruelling event.
Results after the Dakar Rally Stage 11 on Thursday Jan 15
Salata to Termas de Rio Hondo in Argentina – 520km (19 km timed)
1 Nasser Al-Attiyah/Matthieu Baumel (QAT/FRA/Mini) 1hr53min10sec
2 Orlando Terranova/Bernardo Graue (ARG/ARG/Mini) +27sec
3 Giniel De Villiers/Dirk Von Zitzewitz (RSA/GER/Toyota) +39sec
4 Benediktas Vanagas/Andrei Rudnitski (LTU/BLR/Toyota) +40sec
5 Vladimir Vasilyev/Konstantin Zhiltsov (RUS/RUS/Mini) +1min16
6 Bernhard Ten Brinke/Tom Colsoul (NED/BEL/Toyota) +2min12
7 Stephane Peterhansel/Jean Paul Cottret (FRA/FRA/Peugeot) +2min16
8 Carlos Sousa/Paulo Fiuza (POR/POR/Mitsubishi) +2min27
9 Christian Lavieille/Pascal Maimon (FRA/FRA/Toyota) +2min40
10 Emiliano Spataro/Benjamin Lozada (ARG/ARG/Renault) +2min47
1 Nasser Al-Attiyah/Matthieu Baumel (QAT/FRA/Mini) 37hr12min47sec (penalty 2min00)
2 Giniel De Villiers/Dirk Von Zitzewitz (RSA/GER/Toyota) +29min01
3 Krzysztof Holowczyc/Xavier Panseri (POL/FRA/Mini) +1hr28min4
4 Erik Van Loon/Wouter Rosegaar (NED/NED/Mini) +2hr54min09. (penalty 40min00)
5 Christian Lavieille/Pascal Maimon (FRA/FRA/Toyota) +3hr04min21
6 Vladimir Vasilyev/Konstantin Zhiltsov (RUS/RUS/Mini) +3hr13min26
7 Bernhard Ten Brinke/Tom Colsoul (NED/BEL/Toyota) +3hr41min40
8 Carlos Sousa/Paulo Fiuza (POR/POR/Mitsubishi) +3hr44min20 (penalty 40min00)
9 Aidyn Rakhimbayev/Anton Nikolaev (KAZ/RUS/Mini) +4hr03min09. (penalty 30sec)
10 Ronan Chabot/Gilles Pillot (FRA/FRA/Smg) +4hr26min29
Bivouac Marathon to Termas de Rio Hondo in Argentina - 523km (357km timed)
1 Joan Barreda Bort (ESP/Honda) 3hr26min33
2 Paulo Goncalves (POR/Honda) +17sec
3 Ivan Jakes (SVK/KTM) +1min35
4 Ruben Faria (POR/KTM) +1min43
5 Toby Price (AUS/KTM) +2min17
6 Marc Coma (ESP/KTM) +2min40
7 Pablo Quintanilla (CHI/KTM) +4min13
8 Helder Rodrigues (POR/Honda) +5min25
9 Alain Duclos (FRA/Sherco TVS) +5min26
10 Stefan Svitko (SVK/KTM) +5min28
1 Marc Coma (ESP/KTM) 41hr43min03
2 Paulo Goncalves (POR/Honda) +5min12
3 Toby Price (AUS/KTM) +31min43
4 Pablo Quintanilla (CHI/KTM) +33min15
5 Stefan Svitko (SVK/KTM) +48min07
6 Ruben Faria (POR/KTM) +1hr40min43. (penalty 40min00)
7 David Casteu (FRA/KTM) +1hr46min51
8 Laia Sanz Pla-Giribert (ESP/Honda) +2hr13min20
9 Ivan Jakes (SVK/KTM) +2hr24min46
10 Olivier Pain (FRA/Yamaha) +2hr55min17
See what happened to Nani Roma and his Mini...
Stage 11 - Car/Bike - Stage Summary - (Salta... by Dakar