Leg 11: San Juan – Río Cuarte, Special stage: 119km and 173km; Liaison sections: 467km
RÍO CUARTE (ARGENTINA) – Friday, January 13: There were no Friday the 13th gremlins and Overdrive Racing and Toyota Gazoo Racing South Africa will take six of their original eight Toyota Hiluxes into the final special stage of the 2017 Dakar Rally after all the crews safely negotiated the 292km of competitive action between San Juan and Río Cuarte in Argentina.
Joan Roma and navigator Alex Haro dropped eight minutes to team-mate De Villiers through the early kilometres, but were safe in fourth overall. The Spanish crew took no risks through the last kilometres and maintained their position.
Toyota Gazoo Racing South Africa’s Giniel de Villiers and Dirk von Zitzewitz began the day in a comfortable fifth and were fifth fastest through the first section of the special. They went on to record the fourth quickest time and hold fifth place by just 2min 03sec heading into the final day.
Zimbabwean Conrad Rautenbach and his South African co-driver Robert Howie were seventh through the first 119km and the dunes around San Juan in the second of the Toyota Gazoo Racing Hiluxes. They continued their impressive pace to the finish and the eighth quickest time enabled the Dakar first-timer to climb into ninth place in the overall standings for the first time.
The Dutch crew of Erik van Loon and Wouter Rosegaar were pushed down to 16th overall at the start of the 11th stage after Finland’s Mikko Hirvonen recovered from his delays into San Juan and completed the stage. Van Loon enjoyed a strong run through section one in eighth place and finished the stage in an impressive seventh to move up to 14th overall.
Alejandro Yacopini and Daniel Merlo began the day in 21st overall in their Overdrive Racing Toyota Hilux. They were running 18th after the shorter opening section of the special and a strong performance lifted them into the top 20.
The Chinese crew of He Zhitao and Kai Zhao reached San Juan in 35th overall in their Boundless Yong Racing Toyota run by Overdrive Racing and safely negotiated section one of the stage. They were 38th at WP5 and firmly on course for the finish at 23.35 CET.
Additional support for Overdrive Racing comes from Power Electronics and Kappa clothing.
The day’s stage was short by Dakar standards and featured only 292km of competition and included a crossing of the dunes near San Juan in the first section of 119km, before a liaison of 367km took teams to the more traditional WRC-style flowing tracks in the Córdoba region and a second part of 173km. A third link guides teams to the bivouac in the city of Río Cuarte.
The final stage on Saturday is only 64km in length and takes place close to the night halt, but then teams have to tackle a long road section back to the ceremonial finish in Buenos Aires. They can expect large crowds, congestion and nervous moments on the 786km link via Villa Maria, the city of Rosario and the towns of Zarate and Campana to the finish in Buenos Aires.
2017 Dakar Rally –SS11 result (top 9 only):
1. Sébastien Loeb (FRA)/Daniel Elena (MCO) Peugeot 3008 DKR 3hr 21min 15sec
2. Stéphane Peterhansel (FRA)/Jean-Paul Cottret (FRA) Peugeot 3008 DKR 3hr 21min 33sec
3. Orlando Terranova (ARG)/Andreas Schulz (DEU) John Cooper Works Rally Mini 3hr 27min 52sec
4. Giniel de Villiers (ZAF)/Dirk von Zitzewitz (DEU) Toyota Gazoo Hilux 3hr 28min 16sec
5. Yazeed Al-Rajhi (SAU)/Timo Gottschalk (DEU) John Cooper Works Rally Mini 3hr 28min 40sec
6. Cyril Despres (FRA)/David Castera (FRA) Peugeot 3008 DKR 3hr 28min 47sec
7. Erik van Loon (NLD)/Wouter Rosegaar (NLD) Toyota Hilux Overdrive 3hr 35min 03sec
8. Conrad Rautenbach (ZWE)/Robert Howie (ZAF) Toyota Gazoo Hilux 3hr 35min 47sec
9. Joan Roma (ESP)/Alex Haro (ESP) Toyota Hilux Overdrive 3hr 36min 19sec
2017 Dakar Rally – overall standings after SS11 (unofficial @ 23.35 CET):
1. Stéphane Peterhansel (FRA)/Jean-Paul Cottret (FRA) Peugeot 3008 DKR 28hr 20min 16sec
2. Sébastien Loeb (FRA)/Daniel Elena (MCO) Peugeot 3008 DKR 28hr 25min 48sec
3. Cyril Despres (FRA)/David Castera (FRA) Peugeot 3008 DKR 28hr 53min 10sec
4. Joan Roma (ESP)/Alex Haro (ESP) Toyota Hilux Overdrive 29hr 39min 57sec
5. Giniel de Villiers (ZAF)/Dirk von Zitzewitz (DEU) Toyota Gazoo Hilux 30hr 09min53sec
6. Orlando Terranova (ARG)/Andreas Schulz (DEU) John Cooper Works Rally Mini 30hr 11min 56sec
7. Jakub Przygonski (POL)/Tom Colsoul (BEL) John Cooper Works Rally Mini 32hr 33min 14sec
8. Romain Dumas (FRA)/Alain Guehennec (FRA) Peugeot 3008 DKR 32hr 42min 58sec
9. Conrad Rautenbach (ZWE)/Robert Howie (ZAF) Toyota Gazoo Hilux 32hr 59min 48sec
10. Mohammed Abu Issa (QAT)/Xavier Panseri (FRA) John Cooper Works Rally Mini 33hr 11min 06sec
14. Erik van Loon (NLD)/Wouter Rosegaar (NLD) Toyota Hilux Overdrive 34hr 24min 59sec
19. Alejandro Yacopini (ARG)/Daniel Merlo (ARG) Toyota Hliux Overdrive 36hr 42min 57sec
TBA. He Zhitao (CHN)/Kai Zhao (CHN) Toyota Hilux Overdrive TBA