Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Dakar '10: Nissans in Stages 4 & 5

Yes, what you are looking at above is a Nissan Navara/Frontier from this years Dakar. Team Dessoude out of France has done some "minor" modifications to it, but it is a true Nissan underneath.

Now on to the news....

And its not all good...As of right now Alfie Cox, who had been sitting 5th overall in the race after the 4th stage (of 14) is unaccounted for. He started the day as expected but has not shown up past KM 224. He had stopped for some time early in the day but then began running again. I fear that he is out of the event though there is still a small possiblity that he may show up overnight and be able to run in tomorrow's stage, though unlikely. This is a real shame as Alfie had shown he was a solid driver in a very competitive machine. Had it held together he would have been a top ten finisher for sure.

On the positive side Krysztof Holowczyc has continued his impressive run finishing 17th and 9th on the two stages and now sits 6th overall and only 3 minutes out of 5th. Unquestionably the best hope for a solid Nissan finish I have my fingers crossed as a gun full of bullets now seems down to a final round.

Christian Lavielle has managed not to burn down his Nissan thus far, finishing 11th and 13th on the last two stages and now stands in 13th overall. With some luck and decent performance Christian could garner a top ten finish.

Krysztof's remaining Team Overdrive partner, Alexander Mironenko, who is also in a SA built Navara stands in 22nd place overall and has driven consistantly so far. He has an outside shot at a top 15 finish if things fall his way.

Given that the race is barely 1/3 over and we're down to one Nissan left in the top 10 and its #2 driver/vehicle are out, I am concerned that Nissan may not have ANY vehicles left in the top 20 by the end. This race is that tough. The attrition rate is already between 40-50% and looks to finish around 60-70%...It will be hard for the factory teams to bring their crews to the finish line let alone the small privateer efforts of the Nissan guys. Like I said before, I have my fingers crossed.

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