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Attiyah's Hummer out of Dakar

2012-01-11 05:40

END OF RACE FOR HUMMER: Defending Dakar Rally champion Nasser Al-Attiyah (insaet) was forced out of the 2012 race on Tuesday, apparently with alternator problems. Images: AFP

Iquique, Chile - Defending Dakar Rally champion Nasser Al-Attiyah was forced out of the 2012 race on Tuesday when his temperamental Hummer broke down yet again.

The 31-year-old Qatari has been plagued by problems since the start in Mar Del Plata on New Year's Day.

He lined up for Tuesday's Stage 9 in sixth position overall, eight minutes behind leader Stephane Peterhansel, having struggled to make up the loss of 10 minutes on the opening stage.


Al-Attiyah lost more precious time when he was forced to make three unscheduled stops on the 556km run between Antofagasta and Iquique today. Initial reports suggested his American-backed Hummer had suffered problems with its alternator.

He decided to call time on his title defence at the 174km mark of the timed special in a race in which, despite his mechanical gremlins, he still managed to post the fastest times in the second and seventh stages.

Among the catalogue of mechanical setbacks he has suffered have been a broken radiator and an errant spare wheel. Despite that, he had appeared upbeat at the end of Monday's Stage 8, declaring: "I know everything is going smoothly, we will see how far we can go."

Among the cars, US driver Robby Gordon claimed the stage that had a 606km timed special divided into two. Frenchman Stephane Peterhansel - the man who has won the most editions of the Dakar Rally - was second.


Peterhansel's Mini trailed Gordon's Hummer by 1min38 so the Frenchman retains the lead in the overall standings with a 5min58 lead over Gordon.

"We've been beaten fair and square,” Peterhansel said, in comments posted on the race website. “When the Hummers don't have any problems they are a bit quicker than us. We're going to fight to hold on to the slender lead we have over him,"

Gordon, in turn, promised to put up a fight all the way to Lima. "We've got to make time. We're in a different position to him. He has to conserve his time and I've got to make it," he said.

Among the motorcyclists, Cyril Despres regained the upper hand on Strage 9 in his ding-dong battle with rival Marc Coma. The French KTM rider and three-times champion responded to Coma's win on Monday by taking the 556km stage.

Despres, who timed 4hr12min12 with defending champion Coma coming in almost three-and-a-half minutes behind, replaced the Spaniard at the top of the overall rankings.

Despres holds a two-minute lead with five days’ racing to go.

The Antofagasta-Iquique stage was the longest of the two-week rally - a huge 577km - and ended at the base of a steep, 800m dune descent in sight of the Pacific Ocean, almost 5000km from Mar del Plata on the east coast of Argentina, where the Dakar started at the beginning of January.

On Wednesday, the 10th stage of the race will take participants from Iquique to Arica over a total of 694km of which 377 will be timed. Ocean views and challenging sand dunes will keep them on their toes on their last full stage in Chile.
Dakar Rally results after Tuesday's 556km Stage 9 from Antofagasta to Iquique

1 Robby Gordon/Johnny Campbell (USA/Hummer) 4hr35min21
2 Stephane Peterhansel/Jean-Paul Cottret (FRA/Mini) +1min38
3 Nani Roma/Michel Perin (ESP/FRA/Mini) +8min37
4 Krzysztof Holowczyc/Jean-Marc Fortin (POL/BEL/Mini) +10min39
5 Ricardo Leal Dos Santos/Paulo Fiuza (POR/Mini) +15min23
6 Giniel de Villiers/Dirk Von Zitzewitz (RSA/GER/Toyota) +18min03
7 Carlos Sousa/Jean-Pierre Garcin (POR/FRA/Great Wall) +22min36
8 Duncan Vos/Robert Howie (RSA/Toyota) +22min51
9 Leonid Novitskiy/Andreas Schulz (RUS/GER/Mini) +23min25
10 Bernhard Ten Brinke/Matthieu Baumel (NED/Mitsubishi) +27min12

1 Stephane Peterhansel/Jean-Paul Cottret (FRA/Mini) 24hr41min14
2 Robby Gordon/Johnny Campbell (USA/Hummer) +5min58
3 Krzysztof Holowczyc/Jean-Marc Fortin (POL/BEL/Mini) +16min49
4 Nani Roma/Michel Perin (ESP/FRA/Mini) +19min26
5 Giniel de Villiers/Dirk Von Zitzewitz (RSA/GER/Toyota) +54min10
6 Leonid Novitskiy/Andreas Schulz (RUS/GER/Mini) +1hr29min20
7 Carlos Sousa/Jean-Pierre Garcin (POR/FRA/Great Wall) +1hr44min27
8 Lucio Alvarez/Ronnie Graue (ARG/Toyota) +2hr31min35
9 Duncan Vos/Robert Howie (RSA/Toyota) +2hr44min41
10 Erik Van Loon/Harmen Scholtalbers (NLD/Mitsubishi) +2hr59min12

1 Cyril Despres (FRA/KTM) 5hr04min33
2 Marc Coma (ESP/KTM) +3min54
3 Joan Barreda Bort (ESP/Husqvarna) +8min28
4 Helder Rodrigues (POR/Yamaha) +11min44
5 Paulo Goncalvez (POR/Yamaha) +15min12
6 Pal Ullevalseter (NOR/KTM) +15min43
7 Stefan Svitko (SVK/KTM) +16min19
8 Jordi Viladoms (ESP/KTM) +17min42
9 Frans Verhoeven (NED/Sherco) +18.46
10 Gerard Farres Guell (ESP/KTM) +18min56

1 Cyril Despres (FRA/KTM) 28hr30min17
2 Marc Coma (ESP/KTM) +2min28
3 Helder Rodrigues (POR/Yamaha) +59min19
4 Paulo Goncalves (POR/Husqvarna) +1hr25min57
5 Jordi Viladoms (ESP/KTM) +1hr28min43
6 Gerard Farres Guell (ESP/KTM) +1hr33min05
7 Stefan Svitko (SVK/KTM) +1hr33min33
8 Pal Ullevalseter (NOR/KTM) +1hr49min27
9 Juan Pedrero Garcia (ESP/KTM) +1hr52min13
10 Alessandro Botturi (ITA/KTM) +2hr12min18

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