Dakar debutant Yazeed Alrajhi outdid himself over the past few days of the 2015 Dakar, by closing in on a top five position after making it a goal to reach the top ten. After the mammoth 784 km eighth special, the Saudi emerged as stage winner with his Overdrive Toyota Hilux – managing to place himself third overall.
“Today was a good day. We drove fast and we had fun. The most difficult part was organising toilet stops! At such altitudes, just a sip makes you want to go. The in-line start in Salar was great and carried out under good conditions. We didn’t have the highest top speed, but we managed to catch up with the others. It was a bit like a game,” Alrajhi said.
Argentinian Orlando Terranova, who is no longer in serious contention for the Dakar title, could go all out to finish the stage second in his Monster Energy Mini – just 1 minute 12 seconds in arrears.
“This Dakar is frustrating. I’ve finished first three times. I was also second once. And then I was tenth. Then came the stage in which I lost time. If it weren’t for it, I’d still be in contention for the overall. I’ve got the pace and I’ve still got a few stages left to push hard,” a hopeful Terranova said.
Suffering from altitude sickness, overall leader Nasser Al-Attiyah was on the back foot as he cruised to third place, while main rival in the standings, Giniel de Villiers, finished fourth.
The only thing I didn’t enjoy was the altitude. I vomited three times and Matthieu (Baumel) asked me to stop. But no, I didn’t want to lose any time. I’m happy to stay in the lead. We lost a wheel at the end of the first part of the special and lost a few minutes changing it. However, I attacked in the second half, overtook four cars and made up the lost time,” the 2011 Dakar winner said.