The MINI rally cars were dominant in the first five days of the event with the Hummers only second best.
Five stages into the Dakar 2012, currently underway in South America, American racing driver-now rally driver Robby Gordon is still maintaining a hope of winning the event. Gordon hasn't won any of the first five stages, though he is lying in fourth place just 13:32 minutes from the leader Frenchman Stephane Peterhansel in a MINI
. Peterhansel is in front of two other MINI rally cars: Polish driver Krzysztof Holowczyc and the Spaniard Nani Roma.
Nasser Al-Attyiah, Gordon's teammate and last year's winner, has almost lost all hope of keeping his title as he is currently in 8th place, more than 50 minutes behind the leader. The first five days were quite eventful, the lead changed hands a few times (though only among the MINI cars) as the competitors tackled various sorts of terrain, climbed to altitudes of up to 3,500 m above sea level and came to terms with the event. After three days Gordon, in his orange colored Hummer
, was in second place and over 44 seconds off the pace.
However he lost over 18 minutes on the next day and steadied the ship on the fifth day as he clawed back about 3 minutes off the leader. Al-Attyiah suffered from more bad luck. On the first day he lost over nine minutes on the short first special stage. He then recovered to win the second stage, the only one that none of the MINIs won so far, and finished third on the third day. He lost more time on days 4 and 5 due to technical problems so now he is out of touch with the leaders. Petrhansel remains now the main candidate to win the event that ends on January 15.
So far he won only one stage, the fourth, suffered a bad day in the office on the third day, but now when Gordon is more than 13 minutes in arrears and two of his teammates are behind him he just has to keep himself out of trouble. The sixth stage, which was due for Friday, has been cancelled because of bad weather over the Andes Mountain Range as rain and snow are falling heavily in the region. The competitors will enter Chile in a convoy driving over the Paso de San Francisco pass, situated at altitude of 4,700 m.