South Africa’s hopefuls for the Dakar Rally finished the seventh stage without a hitch, as De Villiers and Von Zitzewitz retained their third overall position, although they lost 2 minutes lead time overall. The stage took place between Calama, Chile and Salta, Argentina on Friday, and was short at only 218 kilometers of timed route. The finished the stage itself in fifth placed, and lead the four-wheel drive petrol T1.1 class.
Peterhansel’s luck continues as well, as he finished first in the stage in his Mini, increasing his slim lead over Al-Attiyah and navigator Cruz in their Buggy to 3:14. Behind them by 40 minutes are De Villiers and Von Zitzewitz, and Novitskiy ever present behind them by 5:00.
De Villiers: “We got through the special stage well today and conceded a surprisingly small amount of time to the diesel cars. They have a physical advantage at that kind of altitude. The second part of the stage was narrow and winding – rather like stages in the World Rally Championship. Just one tough stage on Saturday and we’ll be having a very welcome rest day on Sunday.“
Von Zitzewitz: “ Today’s stage was very encouraging ahead of the next few stages. We looked good on this kind of ‘special’ and go into the coming WRC-style stages fully motivated. This will give us the opportunity to do well.“
Death of the rider Thomas Bourgin
(Taken from www.dakar.com)
Motorcycle rider no. 106 Thomas Bourgin (FRA) was the victim of a fatal traffic accident on the link route as he made his way to the start of the day’s special stage.
The accident took place at 08.23 hours local time on the link route on the way up to the Chilean side of the mountain range. The 25-year-old rider collided with a Chilean police car that was travelling in the opposite direction. The exact circumstances of the accident are being subjected to an inquiry.
The rally’s medical teams deployed on the ground were only able to certify the rider’s death, probably instant.
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|Stage 7 Results (Overall Standing)|
|3||301||De Villiers (ZAF)