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Jan 11, 2018

ay 5 (San Juan de Marcona - Arequipa) 934 km.


Sheikh Khalid Al Qassimi: “The first section in today's stage was the most difficult in the Dakar ever"

Arequipa, (Peru): Abu Dhabi Racing and Peugeot Middle East official driver Sheikh Khalid bin Faisal Al Qassimi, behind the wheel of a 3008 DKR Maxi, with co-driver Xavier Panseri, occilated between 4th and 7th fastest on most of the stages for the day to eventually classify in 6th overall.

Generally considered the toughest stage in the Dakar, Sheikh Khalid started off bravely but unfortunately got stuck in the sand. Instead of digging out the sand, Sheikh Khalid instead opted to use the tyre pressure system and deflate the tyres and get out of the rut.

The Emirati then posted some very impressive times to eventually finish the day in sixth overall.

Al Qassimi said: "The first section in today's stage was the most difficult in the Dakar ever. It was very difficult, we struggled to find our way first and we got stuck twice; but we were able to finish the first section 4th fastest. I believe we did great in the first section and overcame the obstacles.

"We kept going and had to be a little hard on the car; we were pushing hard ensuring that we do not get stuck in the sand again but we hit the nose of the car and it broke; only cosmetic damage so not a big deal.

"The second section was very challenging with regards to the navigation. We lost our way twice. Xavier is doing a good job to let us find the right way. We lost about a minute but ultimately completed a very difficult day."

Next up is Stage 6, the Arequipa/La Paz stage comprising of 447km of liaison and 313 km of special stages.

The Dakar leaves Peru and the desert to take on the mountains. The route become faster, barely leaving enough time for a peek at the many lakes along the way. The second timed section will start on the shores of Lake Titicaca. The Bolivian Altiplano requires competitors and crews to adjust to racing at an altitude of 2,500 metres. The day off in the capital will help them acclimatise.

The anniversary edition will run through three countries in South America - Peru, Bolivia and Argentina – and the Abu Dhabi Racing driver is aiming for a good result at the end of the annual event that attracts some of the biggest names from across the globe.

The 40th edition of the Dakar Rally will take place on the South American continent for the tenth time with drivers getting the opportunity to re-acquaint themselves with the Pacific Ocean and the Peruvian dunes, which the riders and drivers will tackle after having enjoyed several days in the Peruvian capital of Lima.

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