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Across the Andes and Once Again Into Argentina.


Across the Andes and Once Again Into Argentina. Over Dry Riverbeds and Mountain Passes, the HILUXES Finished 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th

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With the stages in CHILE and BOLIVA completed, competitors today began the final phase of the rally in Argentina. Today's route was relatively easy to navigate, and apart from some patches of water in the middle of the stage, the road was easy to drive. However, competitors had to be careful running a narrow path with a sharp vertical drop on one side. Even one small mistake could end in disaster at the bottom of an abyss.

Today YAZEED ALRAJHI (#325 YAZEED RACING) again ran an error-free stage and finished 3rd. "I am happy that again I ran without any mistakes" he said. "I am satisfied that I am in the top 5 overall despite this being my first DAKAR RALLY." GINIEL DE VILLIERS (#303 IMPERIAL TOYOTA) also ran carefully and made no mistakes. He finished 5th in the stage. GINIEL is still gunning for an overall victory. 

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LEEROY POULTER (#327 IMPERIAL TOYOTA) made a good showing, finishing 4th in the stage. BERNHARD TEN BRINKE (#315 OVERDRIVE TOYOTA), who was slow and finished 33rd in yesterday's stage, finished 6th today, even though he had a difficult time running freely because for nearly 20 minutes he had to contend with sand dust thrown up by a truck running in front of him. Four HILUXES finished in the Top 10 in today's stage. 

In the Production Category, NICOLAS GIBON (#345 TEAM LAND CRUISER) finished 1st and JUN MITSUHASHI (#343 TEAM LAND CRUISER) finished 2nd in the stage. The time difference between the two drivers so far is 5 minutes and 23 seconds.   ALEJANDRO YACOPINI (#348 TOYOTA YACOPINI), driving the SW4 (FORTUNER) sits 3rd overall, but his time is considerably slower than the other two drivers, so either NICOLAS or JUN ought to claim victory in the category.

Three more stages remain. Tomorrow's SS (Special Stage) is a short 194 km. The finish line of the DAKAR RALLY in BUENOS AIRES is starting to seem real.

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Where Do Competitors Rest?

Because most bivouacs are situated in the desert, competitors and mechanics generally sleep in tents. Some top competitors rest at hotels in towns near the bivouacs. Since the DAKAR RALLY moved to South America, assistance cars have been able to run along asphalt-paved national roads. Therefore, some competitors have started bringing camping vehicles in which to take their meals and rest. The number of the campers has increased every year, and now it one of the most popular rest options among competitors. Competitors place tables under tarps fixed to their campers and use this space for briefings.

Competitors always get the attention of spectators, even at the bivouacs, so they need a private space to relax. In campers competitors feel like they have their own rooms at the DAKAR sites. A common sight at circuit races, campers may become the norm at the DAKAR in the near future.