South Africans climb Dakar leader board

2012-01-03 08:54

South African privateer Mark Corbett and co-driver Francois Jordaan made a steady climb on the Dakar Rally leader board in their Century Racing CR4 buggy in the second stage yesterday.

The pair started in 60th position when the 2012 Dakar got under way on Sunday and finished 27th in the opening stage.

They finished the second stage in 17th place, 33 minutes and 41 seconds behind stage leader Nasser al-Attiyah of Qatar.

Fellow South African Giniel de Villiers finished the stage in sixth place, retaining his overall fourth position in his V8 Toyota Hilux, three minutes and 49 seconds behind overall leader Stephane Peterhansel of France.

De Villiers’ team mate and compatriot, Duncan Vos, also fared well on the second day, finishing in 18th place overall.

Corbett, participating in his first Dakar Rally, said they were happy with their second stage performance.

“We’re very encouraged with the team’s performance so far, but we’re not going to get ahead of ourselves.
There’s still a long way to go and we’ll continue to take it one day at a time. The primary objective is to finish this race.”

He said their two-wheel drive Toyota V8 handled the rough terrain well, while he also relied heavily on the experience of his co-driver.

“We had no problems, Francois did a great job of guiding us through the dunes and the CR4 never missed a beat,” Corbett said.

“The 295km stage between Santa Rosa de la Pampa and San Rafael was very fast for the first half and then we had to negotiate some tricky grey sand dunes that are a feature of this volcanic area.”

Corbett will celebrate his 38th birthday tomorrow, and the Johannesburg property developer will be looking to celebrate with another trouble-free stage in the 8 500km motoring marathon through Argentina, Chile and Peru.

The third stage covers 293km between San Rafael and San Juan in Argentina as they climb the foothills of the Andes Mountains on their way to a high-altitude crossing into Chile on January 6.

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