Desert stage tests drivers, Haval moves forwards steadily

Christian Lavielle is keeping his performance in top 10 steadily

21.01.2014

Stage 9 of the Dakar Rally 2014 stretching from Calama and the port city Iquique wound up. Haval’s Christian kept his tempo and finished this stage 15th, retaining the 9th place overall. Roma still topped the overall standings, followed by Peterhansel and De Villers.

Stage 9 started from Calama. After a short liaison section, the drivers moved into the Atacama Desert again for a 422-kilometer special section. Today’s special section was predominated by dunes (150 kilometers). Haval’s Christian continued the team’s stable strategy and finished the stage clocking 05:11:42, barely narrowing the distance from the drivers ahead.

After the stage, Haval’s director Dong Ming said Christian’s performance was stable and we did not push him for better results. Any risky move in the second half of the rally can cost our previous efforts, and we hope that our team will grow mature gradually in this process. Particularly, Christian who has worked with us for the first time needs more running-in. The three consecutive devilish stages will start from tomorrow and we look forward to improving our overall quality in such continuous long stages.

Mini showed their strong team advantage in the stage. Despite the threat from strong opponents like De Villers, Sainz and Gordon in the first few consolidation points (CP), the team showed increasingly prominent advantage in the second half of this stage, gained the lead after passing the fifth CP and maintained the lead till the end. Notably, the Spanish veteran Sainz was caught in an accident after passing the fourth CP lost much time and finished the stage clocking 06:13:57.

Tomorrow will see Stage 10 stretching 689 kilometers (including 631 kilometers for specials) from Iquique to Antofagasta. The stage will take place on the Pacific coast, with the Pacific on the west, Atacama and the Andes on the east. The infinite test and inviting landscape will feast our eyes on the beauty of Chile known as the “Skirt of South America”.