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SA Fords: Dakar strikes back

2014-01-08 13:02

WORLD’S TOUGHEST OFF-ROAD RACE: Ford’s Lucio Alvarez and Ronnie Graue have their work cut out for them as the Dakar takes its toll. Image: FORD

SAN JUAN, Argentina – The 2014 Dakar Rally was designed to be the toughest yet in its sixth year since moving to South America and it turned out to be exactly that on Stage 3 from San Rafael to San Juan.

Ford’s Lucio Alvarez and Ronnie Graue clawed their way back by an astonishing 92 positions to 38th overall and hoped to continue charging on the 301km special through the Andes' Cordillera de Tontal January 8 but disaster struck.


They hit a culvert iabout 80km from the end of the stage and a damaged suspension kept them sidelined for several hours. They made it to the bivouac in San Juan minutes before refuelling closed for the night but ultimately dropped down to 81st overall out of the 105 competitors still in the car category.

Ford SA’s Chris Visser has been released from hospital where he spent time after a crash. Visser suffered severe neck and back injuries.


Race leaders Stephane Peterhansel/Jean Paul Cottret (Mini) picked up six punctures on Stage 3 which cost them 26 minutes and allowed team mates Nani Roma/Michel Perin to win the stage and take the overall lead.

Carlos Sainz/Timo Gottschalk (SMG Buggy) lost significant time as conditions took their toll. Organisers report 35 of the original 439 competitors failed to make the end of Stage 2; more than 20 dropped out on Stage 3.


The Dakar is expected to  be even tougher on Stage 4 with the longest special stage since 2005 ((North Africa’s stage from Zouerat to Tichit).
The stage was split into two sections. After an early restart drivers faced a short 43km liaison before tackling 217km competitively. A 157km "neutralisation" section followed by the final 284km of the special stage makes up the rest before another liaison section leads the teams to Chilecito after an arduous 868km of driving.

Bookmark Wheels24's special Dakar Rally section to keep up with event news and results.


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