The second leg of the Dakar 2020, from Al Wajh to Neom, was a real test – navigation, in particular, proved to be a big challenge for the competitors. To make life even more difficult, the co-drivers were only presented with the roadbook in the morning, not on the previous evening. Orlando “Orly” Terranova and Bernardo “Ronnie” Graue (both ARG) both made it through without any major issues in their MINI John Cooper Works Rally, finishing runner-up on the stage behind Toyota driver Giniel de Villiers.
Carlos Sainz and Lucas Cruz (both ESP) were sixth in the MINI JCW Buggy. Saudi Yasir Seaidan and his Russian co-driver Alexey Kuzmich made it into the top ten on day two, finishing ninth in their MINI JCW Rally. Lithuanians Vaidotas Zala and Saulius Jurgelenas, who won yesterday's opening leg, came home eleventh in their MINI JCW Rally. Two places behind, Stéphane Peterhansel (FRA) and Paulo Fiuza (POR) in the second MINI JCW Buggy finished 13th, followed by Denis Krotov and Dmytro Tsyro in the MINI JCW Rally. Vladimir Vasilyev (RUS) and Vitaly Yevtyekhov (UKR) crossed the finish line in 17th place in their MINI JCW Rally. Jakub “Kuba” Przygonski and Timo Gottschalk followed in 19th in the MINI JCW Rally.
Today’s second place was enough to catapult Terranova into the overall lead. Following a puncture suffered on rocky terrain, the Argentineans took a more cautious approach – which proved to be exactly the right tactic. “It was another long, hard day. There were rocks everywhere, which resulted in us picking up a puncture about 16 kilometres in,” explained Terranova. “After that, we put our foot down without taking too many risks. After the neutralisation phase, I drove very cautiously on the stony surface. Unlike some of our rivals, we came through without any issues.”
As well as the rocky terrain, another key factor on today’s special stage was the difficult navigation. Sainz dropped back early on in the stage, but was able to work his way back up the time sheets after the neutralisation phase. However, he lost a lot of time attempting to find the right route shortly before the finish. “The navigation was very difficult which cost us a lot of time,” said the Spaniard. “Particularly shortly before the finish, when we spent a long time looking for a waypoint. That is a great shame, as we were running in the top three at the time. The stage itself was nice, but very demanding. The MINI is running very well.” Sainz and Cruz are currently running a very fine second in the overall standings.
It was a tough stage for Peterhansel too. Like his team-mate, he initially dropped down the standings at the start of the stage, before he too was able to work his way back into the leading group. However, Peterhansel also lost a lot of time again shortly before the finish. “It was a weird day,” said the Frenchman. “One minute we found the route straight away, and a little later we lost time again due to the tricky navigation. Our biggest mistake came ten kilometres from the finish, when we spent about ten minutes driving in circles. I also had issues with the steering for a while, but we were able to repair that ourselves.” Peterhansel and Fiuza are eighth overall after the first two days of the Dakar 2020.
Zala and Jurgelenas impressed again today in their MINI JCW Rally. They had the thankless task of opening the stage. However, the pair maintained their place in the top ten for almost the entire leg, before eventually finishing eleventh and securing fifth place in the overall standings.
The service crews can relax a little tomorrow. The Dakar caravan remains in Neom, from where the competitors will drive a loop around the bivouac. The drivers start the 427-kilometre special stage from the bivouac. They then face a 77-kilometre liaison stage back to their team.
Dakar Rally - Result SS2*
1. G. De Villiers (RSA) / A. Haro (ESP) Toyota – 3h 37m 20s
2. O. Terranova (ARG) / B. Graue (ARG) MINI JCW Rally - 3h 41m 17s
3. Sk. Al Qassimi (UAE) / X. Panseri (FRA) Peugeot – 3h 43m 02s
4. M. Serradori (FRA) / F. Lurquin (BEL) Century – 3h 46m 49s
5. N. Al-Attiyah (QAT) / M. Baumel (FRA) Toyota – 3h 49m 06s
6. C. Sainz (ESP) / L. Cruz (ESP) MINI JCW Buggy - 3h 50m 25s
9. Y. Seaidan (KSA) / A. Kuzmich (RUS) MINI JCW Rally - 3h 54m 04s
11. V. Zala (LTU) / S. Jurgelenas (LTU) MINI JCW Rally – 3h 56m 43s
13. S. Peterhansel (FRA) / P. Fiuza (POR) MINI JCW Buggy – 3h 59m 35s
14. D. Krotov (RUS) / D. Tsyro (UKR) MINI JCW Rally - 4h 00m 00s
17. V. Vasilyev (RUS) / V. Yevtyekhov (UKR) MINI JCW Rally - 4h 04m 30s
19. J. Przygonski (POL) / T. Gottschalk (GER) MINI JCW Rally – 4h 11m 11s
40. A. Dorosinskiy (RUS) / O. Uperenko (LVA) MINI ALL4 Racing - 4h 31m 49s
Dakar Rally – Overall result after SS2*
1. O. Terranova (ARG) / B. Graue (ARG) MINI JCW Rally - 7h 07m 36s
2. C. Sainz (ESP) / L. Cruz (ESP) MINI JCW Buggy - 7h 12m 19s
3. N. Al-Attiyah (QAT) / M. Baumel (FRA) Toyota – 7h 13m 43s
4. M. Serradori (FRA) / F. Lurquin (BEL) Century – 7h 14m 58s
5. V. Zala (LTU) / S. Jurgelenas (LTU) MINI JCW Rally – 7h 15m 47s
8. S. Peterhansel (FRA) / P. Fiuza (POR) MINI JCW Buggy – 7h 20m 53s
12. V. Vasilyev (RUS) / V. Yevtyekhov (UKR) MINI JCW Rally - 7h 36m 59s
20. Y. Seaidan (KSA) / A. Kuzmich (RUS) MINI JCW Rally - 8h 08m 39s
25. A. Dorosinskiy (RUS) / O. Uperenko (LVA) MINI ALL4 Racing - 8h 29m 31s
26. D. Krotov (RUS) / D. Tsyro (UKR) MINI JCW Rally - 8h 35m 35s
57.+ J. Przygonski (POL) / T. Gottschalk (GER) MINI JCW Rally – 13h 29m 51s
*16:30 local time tbc
Source: X-raid Team press release