Dakar - Cars - Leg 6
Nothing can stop Nasser Al Attiyah and his BMW... During today's stage, he was the sole driver capable of responding to the Volkswagens of Giniel de Viliers, Mark Miller and Carlos Sainz as each completed their respective runs in succession.
the Qatari is far from reassured on his current status as rally leader, as a mechanical issue has brought worries to his Dakar campaign.
"Due to the engine overheating, we couldn't go through the dunes," he reported, adding that he missed a way point along the route to Mendoza.
"The temperature rose to 120. The engine stopped and I preferred to choose a different route and avoid the dunes," Al Attiyah explained. "When we push too hard, the engine temperature gets too high."
"It should have been repaired yesterday. If we can't repair this problem, then we won't be able to carry on," he warned. "It's bad news, but we'll have to wait and see."
For the time being, Al Attiyah is at the top of the general rankings with a lead of 7'31" on de Villiers, 15'10" on Sainz.
"It was quite tricky in the beginning in the dunes. A few times we had to turn around because we couldn't make it up some dunes," shared overall second-placed de Villiers.
"In the Dakar, every day you have to finish the stage without problems and so far the Touareg is going very well," he added with satisfaction. "We've had no problems so far. There's still a week to go, so we need to keep it there in terms of our speed and reliability."
In the Mitsubishi camp, Stéphane Peterhansel was happy and relieved to learn in the morning that his Lancer's engine had been successfully repaired. The team's mechanics and engineers worked through the night, fixing and replacing elements following Wednesday's roll. Their hard work allowed Peterhansel to leave San Rafaël and race on to Mendoza.
However, the day went differently for teammate Luc Alphand, who retired when co-driver Gilles Picard fell sick. An airlift to hospital and a check-up fortunately revealed no serious health problems.