Stage 10 of the 2020 Dakar rally was set up to push the racers, but not by the terrain. Endurance would be the name of the game during today’s stage of the rally. The special in the first part sends the drivers and crews out into the vast off-road land of the Empty Quarter through 30 kilometers of dunes. For drivers that can’t keep up the pace as the night comes quickly.
To start the stage in the SSV class Mitchell Guthrie Jr. made another big impression after 113 km. After second place yesterday behind his team-mate Blade Hildebrand, this time the roles have been reversed, with a 29 second lead for Guthrie. Aron Domzala trailed the stage leader by 1 minute and 31 seconds whilst Gerard Farrés was almost one hour behind.
With 24 participations under his belt, Patrick Sireyjol has seen it all on the Dakar, but first and foremost he has displayed impressive consistency as he has not dropped out early since 1988. Things looked like they may change as he came to a standstill after 43 km of the special, on his first participation behind the wheel of an SSV, as he broke the suspension arm on his Can-Am.
At 345 km the race changed for everyone. The race directors decided to halt the 10th stage to ensure the safety of the competitors due to the weather conditions. The competitors from all the categories traveled to the marathon bivouac in liaison.
In the end of the shortened stage, Mitchell Guthrie Jr. came out on top winning by only 25 seconds in front of Blade Hildebrand, who both are now participating in the rally via the Dakar Experience formula. Gerard Farrés completed the top three, 1 minute and 22 seconds behind the winner, while the overall leader in the class, Casey Currie, took advantage of the problems encountered by Chaleco López to increase his overall lead. Currie now sits 45 minutes ahead of Sergei Kariakin who is now sitting in second place overall.
“Today’s stage was good,” Currie said. “I thought Chaleco was going to push hard so I pushed hard. Twenty minutes going into the stage isn’t enough to win the rally, so we just pushed hard. We were by ourselves all day which was super weird.”
“I normally would get caught because when a group of UTVs gets together they can push really hard, but it didn’t happen,” Currie continued. “At 200 km when we did the refueling, they canceled the rest of the stage. I found out that Chaleco had a problem and it put him down a little bit. Overall, I think I lost a little bit of time compared to the guys driving in a group, but I feel good. The car’s great and we had no problems today.”
“Sean’s doing a great job and we just have two more days,” Currie continued. “We’re going to do everything we can to analyze the car. We’re going to do the best job we can to prep it and make sure it’s ready for tomorrow. I’ve got two team-mates who both finished ahead of me today, so we’ll figure out what we need to do to make sure that I’m safe in the middle.”
“We’re going to do everything we can to be smart about this race,” Currie continued. People don’t understand that twelve days of racing is insanely hard, so we’re going to play it just as smart as we can. I feel like the pressure is worse than ever – 45 minutes is nothing. One problem with that Can-Am and it could take 45 minutes, so I don’t look at it like we’re anywhere near safe. We still have two more days of racing to get done.”
Only two stages left in the 2020 Dakar, can the Casey Currie hold on take home the win? Things are looking good!