Robby-Gordon-Off-Road-Dakar-1-13-14
Salta, Argentina –
Following a much needed rest day for teams, Sunday’s Stage 7 of the 35th Dakar Rally consisted of a mega loop with a 500-kilometer Special leading from Salta back to Salta. Drivers faced a course similar to what would be seen during a WRC race with stony terrain and multiple ultra-fast sections, an advantage that the 4WD race cars would have over the two-wheel-drive SPEED Energy/Toyo Tires HST Gordini.

As with much of the 2014 Rally, Stage 7 was a tough one for Robby Gordon and his SPEED Energy/Toyo Tires team. Gordon started the stage far down the list, making his objective to stayi out of trouble and bring the HST Gordini to the finish line in one piece. Beginning 23rd off the line the SPEED Energy team knew the tight and narrow WRC-type track would be a challenge to pass other competitors.

Copiapo, Chile – Today’s stage went extremely well for the SPEED Energy / Toyo Tires / MAPEI HUMMER until the last checkpoint where Robby Gordon and navigator Kellon Walch would find themselves stuck, losing precious minutes from their lead.

Gordon led the charge to start Stage 12 heading back into the country of Chile. The Rally started at 6 AM local time to cross over the Andes making it an exceptionally long liaison to the start of the 319KM Special. The competitors would race into the dunes of the Atacama desert, a place that Gordon has won multiple stages in the past.

La Rioja, Argentina – Stage 10 in this year’s Dakar Rally was a much shorter stage than yesterday but featured much of the same narrow WRC-style course. Given this, Robby Gordon and navigator Kellon Walch knew that it would not be suitable for the SPEED Energy / Toyo Tires / MAPEI HUMMER.

Starting fourth today allowed Gordon to keep pace with the 4wd cars in order to stay within reach. Gordon put on a spectacular show with his vehicle, pushing corners through river crossings and jumping cattle crossings, ultimately giving the locals a reason  to cheer. Gordon finished fifth, 6 minutes and 51 seconds behind the stage winner.