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Gordon in danger of Dakar ban

2012-01-11 22:21

UNSUNG HEROS: Argentina's Alejandro Patronelli, one of the real tough guys of the Dakar in any year - aboard his Yamaha on Stage 9 between Antofagasta and Iquique, Chile. Imagine thousands of kilometres on a quad! Image: AFP

Arica, Chile - American Robby Gordon's hopes of winning the Dakar Rally took a major hit on Wednesday when stewards ruled he should be thrown out of the event.

The stewards said his Hummer's engine did not conform to race regulations.

A source close to the organisers revealed that the 43-year-old - pressing overall leader Stephane Peterhansel hard for the car title - would appeal against the decision so was allowed to continue Wednesday’s stage.


The ultimate decision rests with motorsport's governing body, the FIA.

Gordon - whose best finish so far in seven Dakars was third in 2009 when South Africa’s Giniel de Villiers won – took Stage 9 on Tuesday to cut Frenchman Peterhansel's overall lead to 5min58 ahead of Sunday's finish in Lima.

It is believed the stewards noticed the engine problem while checking it over after Tuesday’s stage in which Gordon’s Hummer team mate and defending champion Nasser al-Attiyah retired with technical problem.

The stewards believe Gordon's modifying of the ventilation system linked to his engine improved its performance; he denies that his tinkering had improved the car’s speed and is basing his appeal on that.

Peterhansel is bidding for a 10th win to top off six wins on motorcycles and three in cars.

It was the second steward's decision to go in favour of a French competitor this week; on Monday three-times motorcycle champion Cyril Despres came in 17min20sec behind main rival and defending champion Marc Coma after getting stuck in a bog.


However the stewards decided that, as torrential rain had turned the previously arid surface into a bog and it hadn't been on the race book handed out to the competitors, the Frenchman's deficit on the stage behind KTM team mate Coma should be reduced to 9min14.

Their action left Coma fuming and his mood was not improved as Despres regained the overall lead on Tuesday after winning the stage and now leads him by 2min28.

On Wednesday’s Stage 10 between Iquique and Arica Coma reduced Despres overall lead to only 16sec. Neither won the stage - that went to Coma's compatriot Joan Barreda Bort - but Coma came in second to make significant headway in his bid to deprive Despres of a fourth Dakar win.

Despres finished fourth.

Joan Roma of Spain won the cars section ahead of Mini team mate Stephane Peterhansel of France who finished 21sec behind to extend his overall lead in the car category.

Peterhansel leads Roma by 19min05 and is nearly 20 minutes ahead of American driver Robby Gordon, who was fourth on the 377km special stage. - AFP

2011 Dakar Rally Motorcycle results - Stage 10

1 Marc Coma, ESP (KTM) 03hr06min35
2 Cyril Despres, FRA (KTM) 03hr16min31
3 Ruben Faria, PRT (KTM) 03hr19min57
4 Miran Stanovnik, SVN (KTM) 03hr28min01
5 Francisco Lopez Contardo, CHL (Aprilia) 03hr28min18
6 Henk Knuiman, NLD (KTM) 03hr28min46
7 Javier Pizzolito, ARG (Honda) 03hr28min51
8 Juan Pedrero Garcia, ESP (KTM) 03hr31min15
9 Alain Duclos, FRA (Aprilia) 03hr33min31
10 Helder Rodrigues, PRT (Yamaha) 03hr34min21

1 Marc Coma, ESP (KTM) 38hr39min31
2 Cyril Despres, FRA (KTM) 38hr57min41
3 Francisco Lopez Contardo, CHL (Aprilia) 39hr24min47
4 Helder Rodrigues, PRT (Yamaha) 40hr09min08
5 Ruben Faria, PRT (KTM) 40hr14min13
6 Juan Pedrero Garcia, ESP (KTM) 41hr08min55
7 Pal Anders Ullevalseter, NOR (KTM) 41hr16min10
8 Jean de Azevedo, BRA (KTM) 41hr50min37
9 Henk Knuiman, NLD (KTM) 42hr39min51
10 Quinn Cody, USA (Honda) 42hr49min51


1 Roma (ESP), Perin (FRA) Mini 3hr59min37
2 Peterhansel (FRA), Cottret (FRA) Mini +00min21
3 De Villiers (ZAF), Von Zitzewitz (GER) Toyota +07:44
4 Gordon (USA), Campbell (USA) Hummer +14min14
5 Ten Brinke (NLD), Baumel (FRA) Mitsubishi +29min47
6 Dos Santos (PRT), Fiuza (PRT) Mini +31min56
7 Novitzkiy (RUS), Schultz (GER) Mini +31min56
8 Sousa (PRT), Garcin (FRA) Great Wall +43min47
9 Garafulic (CHL), Picard (FRA) BMW +44mn37
10 Alvarez (ARG), Graue (ARG) Toyota +53min44


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