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Hiluxes finish the Long tough stage in 2nd and 3rd!

Rocks on Mountain Paths, Fine Dust Called Fesh Fesh and Camelthorns Interfere with Machines…HILUXES Finish the Long Tough Stage in 2nd and 3rd!

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Today's SS (Special Stage) was long, 518 km, and tough. It includes rocky, winding mountain paths at the beginning, road surfaces with swirling and blinding powdery sand called fesh fesh*1 from the middle of the stage, and a desert littered with camelthorns*2  at the end. At first, the competitors were informed that they would cross a river, but it has not rained recently, so it was a very dry, dusty day.


LEEROY POULTER (#327 IMPERIAL TOYOTA) ran fast and led at the beginning. However, a mistake sent him off course and damaged a shock absorber and he finished 12th in the stage. GINIEL DE VILLIERS (#303 IMPERIAL TOYOTA), who was moved to 3rd yesterday when NASSER AL-ATTIYAH (#301 QATAR RALLY TEAM) was demoted to 7th from first due to a penalty for speeding, ran well and finished 2nd in the stage. BERNHARD TEN BRINKE (#315 OVERDRIVE TOYOTA), 6th yesterday, finished 3rd in the stage. Today the HILUX drivers took the higher ranks, 2nd and 3rd. YAZEED ALRAJHI (#325 YAZEED RACING) also stepped up the pace and finished 6th in the stage.


In the Production Category, the LandCruiser200s of TEAM LAND CRUISER (#343 and #345) finished 1st and 2nd again. They had no trouble such as flat tires and ranked 32nd and 33rd overall in the stage, demonstrating speeds which could push competitors in the Improved Cross-Country Vehicles Category.


Tomorrow's stage should be easier than today's as it does not have too many variations in road conditions and it is relatively short. The competitors will enjoy the scenery through a red valley and such.


*1. The surface of the ground is covered in a fine dust (sand) described as talcum powder.  There is a chance that a tire can get stuck in a hole filled with this fine dust (sand).

*2. A type of vegetation that grows in the desert. The rising ground around the camelthorn is very hard.

When the tire hits these rises in the ground the shock is like running over a rock.



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How do Spectators Show Up in Places Even the Drivers Don't Know?

SSs (Special Stages) are miles from anywhere, but sometimes competitors are suddenly met by large groups of waiting spectators cheering loudly. Not even the competitors know about these places, so how do the spectators find them? As it happens, leaflets describing the best viewing spots are provided to local people in advance. From early morning, people drive to their favorite spot with family or friends to wait for the competitors.


There they wait for a long time, but this is not a problem for South American people who know how to have a good time. They bring coolers, tarps and tents. Some even pack BBQ sets and enjoy the Dakar while roasting their favorite meat as if it were a camping trip. Whenever the competitors pass by, the people give a shout and cheer them on. It is not just the competitors, but the spectators as well who enjoy the rally in their favorite style.