With his Mitsubishi into La Rioja
Miroslav Zapletal (Czech Republic) benefited from delays and time penalties for numerous competitors into Copiapo, by moving up the overall leader board to 11th overall at the start of the 12th stage into La Rioja.
He held 26th
on the stage at the first passage control and had gained sufficient time over the demanding final kilometers to record the eighth fastest time. The result pushed Zapletal's Mitsubishi L200 into the top 10, at the expense of Laszlo Palik (Hungary) and he now holds an excellent seventh overall, ahead of two official X-raid BMW X3 CCs.
Mitsubishi Thailand-backed Mana Pornsiricherd (Thailand) and co-driver Thierry Lacambre (France) have begun a dramatic climb up the leader board in their Mitsubishi Pajero Sport, since being handed time penalties in Valparaiso. Mana held 74th overall at the start of the special stage into La Rioja and was running 30th through PC2. He eventually reached the finish with the unofficial 23rd fastest time, but his overall ranking will not be known until time penalties have been imposed on other crews.
Toni van Deijne (Netherlands) lost his chance of taking a top 10 finish in the 2009 Dakar Rally, when he was delayed on the Copiapo loop stage and slipped from 11th to 14th position in his Mitsubishi L200.
Van Deijne began the 12th stage from 22nd position on the road, but was delayed still further before the first checkpoint for two hours and passed in 94th place.
Several Mitsubishi privateers were running strongly out of Fiambala, once time penalties had been awarded for delays into Copiapo. Jean De Azevedo (Brazil) held 27th overall, Ilya Kuznetsov (Russia) rolled, but was awarded the 28th time, and Christian Barbier (France) was classified in 34th place in his Mitsubishi Pajero at the start of the day and finished the stage in an unofficial 13th position. De Azevedo eventually reached the finish in 24th position.
Jerome Hardy (France) held 36th and Francisco Inocencio (Portugal) was 44th, but many of the back markers and Mitsubishi privateers were instructed by event officials to make their way to the La Rioja bivouac after 175km of the day's special stage and time penalties will be awarded later this evening.