Toyo-supported Robby Gordon takes Stage 11, 2nd in Stage 12 at Dakar
Toyo Tires supported driver Robby Gordon won Stage 11 and finished second at Stage 12 of the 2013 Dakar. Gordon’s victory at Stage 11 came after the competition portion was shortened amid safety concerns. Originally intended to run from La Rioja to Fiambalá in Argentina, the Stage was cut at the first checkpoint, taking the distance down from 219km to 70km, since heavy rains had flooded two rivers along the route.
Running on Toyo Open Country M/T-R tires, Gordon took a vital lead early in the stage, as a helicopter was dispatched to stop the lead vehicles. The victory was bittersweet, since Gordon’s pace meant his 38-second margin of victory could well have been a 30-minute margin if it was allowed to go the full distance.
“We won the stage, so [it] was a good special for us. It could have been a great special for us. I am sure we could have beat most of the cars by 30 minutes or more,” said Gordon. “It is a shame they had to cancel it because of weather since we would have climbed the standings today.” Gordon has been on the podium six times during the 2013 Dakar, while Toyo-shod vehicles have five stage wins and 11 podiums.
Stage 12 sand dune woes
Gordon looked likely to make it two Stage victories in a row during much of the twelfth Stage, but getting stuck at the final checkpoint on one of the Atacama Deserts’ sand dunes cost him a sizeable advantage over Mini X-Raid driver Nani Roma, who went on to win the stage. Mini X-Raid driver Stephane Peterhansel currently leads the field by a comfortable margin; the event is scheduled to finish this weekend.
“We had them beat easily by 10 minutes coming into the final checkpoint,” Gordon lamented. “Unfortunately, the checkpoint was on top of a dune. When they stamped our card, I waited too long and got stuck. We aired down and managed to get out but lost eight minutes along with the stage win because of it. It’s just how our rally has gone; we left a lot on the table this year.”
Toyo Tires has been following the rally on the web with a photo and video blog and daily highlights on Facebook and Twitter. It has also been running daily competitions through its 15 Days of Dakar Sweepstakes on its Facebook page.