Thomas Rundle and Juan Mohr (DMack/Barden Toyota Hilux) enjoyed another good day on their maiden appearance in the Dakar Rally with 34th place on Thursday’s special stage five between Chilecito and Tucuman in Argentina.
They completed the 527-kilometre racing section of the day’s 911-kilometre total route in a time of 6h 45m 20s and were 2h 18m 19s behind stage winners and new overall leaders Nani Roma of Spain and Michel Perin of France (MINI). In the process, they maintained their impressive overall position of 20th and are 5h 13m 59s behind the leaders.
With five of the rally’s 13 stages behind them and a rest day to look forward to in Salta on Saturday, the South African privateers have exceeded their expectations so far and are looking forward to catching their breath after completing the first half of this great adventure.
“Today was very difficult – tough on the car and a big challenge for the co-driver with tricky navigation,” said Rundle. “Juan was magnificent and the car didn’t miss a beat. This race is very taxing and we’re looking forward to the rest day, but first we have to meet the challenge of the second last stage in Argentina before we cross over the Andes Mountains into Chile on Monday.”
Friday’s stage six from Tucuman to Salta is the last one before the rest day in Salta on Saturday. It will take competitors further north in Argentina along the renowned Ruta 40 and on into the heart of one of the country’s most beautiful landscapes. There are 270 kilometres of liaison and the racing section is 424 kilometres – the length of a single round of the South African cross country championship. To date the surviving field has completed nearly 4 000 kilometres of the 9 500 kilometre route, with just over 2 000 of the 5 000 kilometres of racing section under their belts.