Engine fires are rarely a good thing...
Since their roll which occurred on the fifth day of the Dakar Rally, Stéphane Peterhansel and co-driver Jean-Paul "Polo" Cottret went through two additional mishaps Friday morning with their Mitsubishi Lancer, albeit of a different
An engine fire began at the 57-kilometre mark and was quickly put out. The crew went on its way at a slower pace, but a few clicks later fire appeared again. 80 kilometres into the stage, both men were forced to wait for assistance.
"It's retirement for Stéphane and Jean-Paul," confirmed team boss Dominique Serieys. "Nani Roma remains in the race and all our attention will be on the crew he forms with Lucas Cruz."
Hiroshi Masuoka and Pascal Maimon stopped during the very first stage, and on Thursday Luc Alphand pulled out of the competition following a health problem affecting co-driver Gilles Picard.
Today, the Mitsubishi team lost its third entry, Stéphane Peterhansel, a nine-time Dakar winner in Africa (seven times on motorbike, twice aboard a car).
As events go by on this inaugural South American edition, the possibility of a first victory for the Volkswagen team seems stronger and stronger with three cars at the front. Nani Roma's Mitsubishi is in fourth place, and the ongoing BMW drivers are simply too far behind to expect a podium position.