Cox twice unlucky on his birthday

2011-01-08 00:00

WHAT are the chances of having the same bad luck on your birthday for two consecutive years and in the same event? Alfie Cox and his German navigator, Jurgen Schroeder may be able to provide an answer to that.

Last year on January 6, Cox was forced to retire from the 2010 Argentina Chile Dakar with a damaged engine, after moving up to fifth place overall on the stage, an incident that absolutely devastated Cox on his birthday.

The South African off-road legend was again, this year on Thursday, dealt a big blow during Cox and Schroeder’s fifth special stage in the 2011 Personal Argentina Chile Dakar Rally.

Cox started the day’s stage in 59th position from Thursday’s start in 13th place.

Coen van Zyl, spokesperson for PS Laser Racing Team and Alfie Cox Adventure Tours said, “The team came to a halt at about 156 km into the 423 km special stage, after sliding off the road and hitting a massive rock that broke the PS Laser Racing Nissan Navara’s rear differential.”

“Having built a name as one of the Dakar’s “never-give-up” competitors, Cox attempted some repairs but had to give up and wait for the Overdrive service team to reach them,” said Van Zyl.

He said the T4-service truck had to tow the Navara back to the bivouac in Iquique where they arrived at 1 am in the morning.

Van Zyl said a very disappointed Cox said over the satellite phone from their stranded position in the Atacama Desert it was not what he wanted for a birthday gift. Cox added they needed to focus, get back in the race and finish as best as they can.

Cox said being towed would cause major time penalties as a result of missing too many waypoints.

He said the repairs should take about four hours. “The day ahead will be very tough, the mining area of the Atacama is a barren and unforgiving landscape feared by most, but we will conquer it. Now we need some rest, so that we have the strength to attack it,” said Schroeder. Van Zyl said while Cox could continue the race, “we do however not anticipate that he will win the race — the next challenge is the top 20 and the top 10.”

The race, which is expected to have four million fans this year, will culminate on January 16.


Frenchman Stephané Peterhansel yesterday breached Volkswagen’s long winning streak by winning the fifth stage of the Dakar rally in his BMW X3. He finished one minute 24 seconds ahead of the VW Touareg of Nasser Al-Attiyah and 3:15 in front of overall points leader Carlos Sainz also in a VW Touareg. SA’s Giniel de Villiers is in a solid fourth place with another VW Touareg.

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