Torrential rainfall puts pay to Stage Six of the Dakar Rally
With much of Oruro and the surrounding area underwater this morning the Dakar Rally organisers had no choice but to cancel Stage Six. The “extreme climatic conditions” in the region saw competitor safety put first and the proposed 527-kilometre timed special stage between Oruro and La Paz called off.
Get a real sense of the torrential rain falling in Oruro and the impact it had on proceedings by watching/downloading today’s News Cut here.
Those competitors who remain in the race after a gruelling first week that has seen high-profile retirements, such as Nasser Al-Attiyah, Carlos Sainz and Toby Price, came into La Paz this afternoon. The racers were greeted by hoards of enthusiastic fans that lined the streets of the highest capital city on the planet.
Now comes a well-earned Rest Day in La Paz with racers searching for a slice of comfort after exiting the mudbath of the Oruro bivouac. Rest Day gives Dakar competitors a chance for a full service of their race vehicle, various media commitments and hopefully the chance to get some much needed shuteye.
The Rest Day also gives a chance for petrolheads such as windsurf legend Robby Naish to get an up close look at how the Dakar works. Naish is due in the La Paz bivouac on Sunday to catch up with crews such as Team Peugeot Total, the Red Bull KTM Factory Team and Team Kamaz Master. After a dramatic first week of action they’ll be no shortage of stories for the thrill-seeker to hear about.
FACES GOING PLACES
ENAAM AHMED GOING DOWN UNDER TO RISE & SHINE
Enaam Ahmed, friend of F1 Weekly from his sensational karting career, is hoping to get his 2017 racing campaign rolling to match the conclusion of his 2016 season.
The Tasman series may have flown into extinction like the Dodo bird, but the New Zealand-based Castrol Toyota Racing Series has feathered the careers of several promising young drivers over the past few years.
Recent past champions include home grown talent Mitch Evans, who went on to become GP3 Champion. Lance Stroll won the championship in 2015 and this season will see action in Formula 1 with Williams.
In 2016, Lando Norris took the title and went on to win the Formula Renault Euro cup.
Enaam is now 16, the minimum age requirement to compete in the Castrol Toyota Racing Series, and with two race winning seasons of open wheel competition behind him, is looking forward to championship challenge against not only much older drivers, but also drivers who raced last year in the same series.
The opening round of the 2017 Championship is on January 14 at Ruapuna near Christchurch. Each round features three races and is staged on successive weekends; the final event on February 12 at Manfeild is the prestigious New Zealand Grand Prix.
After winning five karting championships in his final season of karting in 2014, Enaam raced to Rookie of the Year honors, and 5th overall, in the 2015 British MSA Formula Championship. He also raced in selected rounds of the Northern European-based SMP Formula 4 Series; winning five races, including all three at Pärnu in Estonia.
The 2016 season saw Enaam step up to the BRDC British F3 and in the opening round at Snetterton he was a race winner and also finished on the podium in the other two races of the weekend. He was classified 5th in the overall standings in this very competitive series. He then completed the 2016 racing season on a high note by winning the British F3 Autumn Trophy.
The car used in the Castrol Toyota Racing Series is the Italian Tatuus single-seater, powered by a 1.8 liter Toyota engine which produces around 160 kWs running on an 85 percent ethanol bio-fuel.
Michelin is the official tire supplier.
Enaam will race with Giles Motorsport; his teammates will be Australian Luis Leeds and Dutch driver Richard Verschoor.
Quick and consistent, Enaam’s fighting spirit has been the hallmark of this young racer from London town.
Racing so far from home base, Enaam said, “I’m really excited to be going into TRS with such fierce competition. It’s going to be a really good challenge to go up against these experienced guys as I wasn’t old enough to do it last year.
“Let’s see how it goes!”
- Nasir Hameed
CLARK AND NASIR STILL IN SHOCK OVER NICO’S RETIREMENT BRAZIL AND ABU DHABI STILL FRESH IN THEIR MINDS AND WILL MAX BE A CHAMPIONSHIP CONTENDER NEXT YEAR ALL THIS AND MOTORSPORTS MONDIAL. WE ALSO WANT TO SHARE SOME NEWS FROM RED BULL AND THE DAKAR RALLY COMING AHEAD.
Success at the Dakar depends on great teamwork, there’s no other way to tackle the challenges that arise when traversing 10,000km of the planet’s harshest terrain. That’s why Red Bull have joined forces with offroad experts in every imaginable field to ensure peak performance is maintained throughout the 2017 Dakar Rally.
Once again Red Bull is sharing the road with Team Peugeot Total as they look to defend the car race title they secured at the previous edition of the rally. The brand-new PEUGEOT 3008 DKR has been given an impressive paint job before being shipped to South America and fans of endurance racing can’t wait to see this fearsome machine in action.
here’s also high expectations for the Red Bull KTM Factory Team and Team Kamaz Masteras they look to extend their winning records in the bike and truck categories respectively. With 11 months of preparation now over these teams have waved off their machines from Le Havre, France and will collect them in a few weeks in South America.
As the teams fine-tune their strategies for success at the Dakar we’re cooking up our own plan to bring the rally closer than ever to fans around the world. Red Bull TV will be broadcasting a daily show featuring engaging features and interviews. RedBull.com will have all the latest news direct from the bivouac and the Red Bull Content Pool is offering a constant stream of downloadable content to media outlets.
The Red Bull team of content creators will be hard at work throughout the rally and the stylish yet durable clothing supplied to them by AERONAUTICA MILITARE is sure to help them operate in whatever conditions the Dakar will throw at them. The sportswear brand is endorsed by the Italian Air Force and has been designed to stand up to even the most testing of environments – and that’s exactly what we’ll find at the Dakar!
MAX VERSTAPPEN ON THE JAPANESE GRAND PRIX
FROM POLE POSITION TO VICTORY: ALPINE’S AMERICAN DREAM!
The Alpine A460s were in sparkling form in qualifying, with home hero Gustavo Menezes and Nicolas Lapierre annexing the first pole position of the season for the N°36 Signatech-Alpine by almost a full second! In the hands of David Cheng and Nelson Panciatici, the sister N°35 Baxi DC Racing Alpine entry similarly achieved its best grid position to-date for a six-hour race as the pair lapped fifth-quickest in LMP2.
The green flag dropped at 5:00pm on Saturday under the stifling Texas sun, with an air temperature of more than 35°C. On the opening lap, the N°44 Manor snatched the initiative at the head of the LMP2 field, with the two Alpine A460s in hot pursuit. Roberto Merhi, Nicolas Lapierre and Nelson Panciatici proceeded to put on a thrilling wheel-to-wheel battle worthy of a grand prix around the spectacular Circuit of the Americas until ten laps in, when the N°36 Signatech-Alpine reclaimed a lead that it would not subsequently relinquish.
After 45 minutes, Lapierre passed the reins to team-mate Stéphane Richelmi, who produced a double stint as day turned into night. Although it never dipped below 30°C, the temperature did cool off slightly as humidity levels reached almost 70 per cent.
These conditions unsurprisingly took a physical toll on the drivers, with Panciatici being forced to abandon a planned double stint early on in the race. Suffering from dehydration, the Frenchman found himself having to hand over to Cheng before being taken to the circuit’s medical centre to recover.
The Baxi DC Racing Alpine was then struck by further misfortune at the beginning of Ho-Pin Tung’s second stint behind the wheel. A heavy impact with a kerb prompted a return to the garage to change the front end of the car and its front suspension, but following a swift 17-minute repair job, Ho-Pin and David brought the N°35 car safely home in eighth place in-class.
At the same time, the N°36 Signatech-Alpine was continuing to lap the Circuit of the Americas with metronomic consistency. Following Richelmi’s double stint, Menezes and Lapierre maintained an equally strong rhythm to establish an advantage of a full lap over their closest pursuers.
Menezes was afforded the honour of finishing the race on home turf, and as he completed his final stint, the Californian could scarcely contain his emotions as he crossed the finish line to win in front of family and friends.
The result enabled the N°36 Signatech-Alpine trio to stretch its lead in the championship table to 38 points, with the N°35 Baxi DC Racing Alpine remaining in ninth position.
The next race on the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) calendar will take place at Fuji in Japan on October 14-16.
Bernard Ollivier, Deputy Managing Director of Alpine: “What a race! It is easy to forget with the success we are enjoying that this is still only our first season running the Alpine A460s, but it is obvious that we are continuing to make progress every time out. We set the tone in qualifying in Texas by claiming our first pole position of the season. In the race, the entire team produced a flawless performance, and it is a source of immense pride to see Alpine win in the United States. With a perfect display of panache, the Signatech-Alpine drivers have increased their overall championship lead once again, meaning the pressure is most definitely on the shoulders of those trying to catch up. As for the Baxi DC Racing Alpine, we are convinced that its consistent improvement will soon yield the kind of result its crew is so clearly capable of.”