Etape 6 : Antofagasta - Iquique
09 january 2015
The terrain on the sixth day of the Dakar Rally was yet another serious test for Team Peugeot-Total as they competed in the dunes of the Atacama Desert. After 277km of timed racing it was a fine result to have both cars safely back in the bivouac in Iquique.
After a moving farewell from Carlos Sainz this morning the team set about their hard work on another stage. Stéphane Peterhansel wasted no time in getting going as he recorded the fastest time of any driver through the first section of the special stage. The strong start was then temporarily halted by a problem with the car’s steering arm.
It was not a great day for us today,” explained Stéphane. “In the middle of the stage we had a problem with the steering. We had the spare part we needed inside the car so we were able to stop and make the change. We lost a lot of time but were able to carry on and reach the finish so that’s the main thing for us.
Despite losing over 20 minutes Stéphane and co-driver Jean-Paul Cottret were still able to record a respectable 20th place finish on the stage. The result keeps the French duo inside the top 10 of the overall classification as they head into tomorrow’s marathon stage, described by Stéphane as “the true spirit of the Dakar”. The energy and excitement of car race newcomer Cyril Despres was still in evidence as he guided his PEUGEOT 2008 DKR along the route from Antofagasta to Iquique. Cyril's latest lesson in four-wheel driving challenged him on stony tracks as well as mountainous sand dunes. Together with his experienced co-driver Gilles Picard they were able to maintain a steady pace throughout the stage to finish with the 32nd best time of the day to lift themselves to 45th overall.
I spent the last two nights out on the stage,” said Cyril. “I finished the dunes in Copiapó around midnight and also arrived late to the bivouac after a tough stage yesterday. Racing the car is less physically tough than doing the Dakar on a bike, but it is more demanding mentally. It’s such a fantastic feeling to arrive in the bivouac each night and I’ll look forward to seeing how the other drivers and co-drivers cope with tomorrow’s marathon stage after experiencing this many times as a biker.
A high altitude route awaits the drivers tomorrow who must manage their machines without assistance because they will spend the night separated from their team of mechanics under the rules of the marathon stage.
SS7 (Iquique-Uyuni): Saturday 10 / 05:00am local time - 717km (SS 321km)
Results of SS6:
1. Nasser Al-Attiyah (QAT)/Matthieu Baumel (FRA) Qatar Rally Team 2h 37m 18s
2. Giniel de Villiers (RSA)/Dirk von Zitzewitz (DEU) Toyota All Speed +00:00:37
3. Nani Roma (ESP)/Michel Périn (FRA) Mini +00:01:24
20. Stéphane Peterhansel (FRA)/J-P Cottret (FRA) Team Peugeot-Total +00:30:24
32. Cyril Despres (F)/Gilles Picard (F) Peugeot 2008 DKR +00:59:19
Overall ranking after SS6:
1. Nasser Al-Attiyah (QAT)/Matthieu Baumel (FRA) Qatar Rally Team 19h 30m 44se
2. Giniel de Villiers (RSA)/Dirk von Zitzewitz (DEU) Toyota All Speed +00:11:12
3. Yazeed Al-Rahji (SAU)/Timo Gottschalk (DEU) Toyota +00:28:44
4. Krzysztof Holowczyc (POL)/Xavier Panseri (FRA) Mini +01:00:53
5. Bernhard Ten Brinke (NLD)/Tom Colsoul (BEL) Toyota +01:04:23
6. Erik van Loon (NLD)/Wouter Roesegar (NLD) Mini +01:06:43
7. Christian Lavieille (FRA)/Pascal Maimon (FRA) Toyota +01:27:22
8. Carlos Sousa (PRT)/Paulo Fiuza (PRT) Mitsubishi +01:42:45
9. Ronan Chabot (FRA)/Gilles Pillot (FRA) SMG +01:49:27
10. Stéphane Peterhansel (FRA)/J-P Cottret (FRA) Team Peugeot-Total +01:49:41
48. Cyril Despres (FRA)/Gilles Picard (FRA) Team Peugeot-Total + 13:06:09