DAK Quin Evans stars for England in the Dakar Rally
DAKAR RALLY 2009 (January 3rd-January 18th, 2009)
For immediate release
Saturday, January 17th, 2009
YORKSHIREMAN QUIN EVANS STARS
IN GRUELLING 2009 DAKAR RALLY
- Evans and Norwegian driver Tollefsen finish fourth overall
- Volkswagen’s De Villiers seals superb 1-2 for German team
BUENOS AIRES (Argentina): Co-driver Quin Evans, from Pateley Bridge in the Yorkshire Dales, is the unlikely British hero of the 2009 Dakar Rally. Evans partnered Norwegian driver Ivar Erik Tollefsen in the world’s most punishing off-road rally and, after 14 gruelling special stages and over 5,000km of competition across the remotest and most inhospitable parts of Argentina and Chile, he finished a superb fourth overall.
The 35-year-old has been working with the Norwegian for three years and the entry into the Dakar has been the pinnacle of the Yorkshireman’s achievements to date. Two hundred and seventeen bikes, 25 quads, 177 cars and 81 trucks had started out of Buenos Aires on January 2nd.
“This is a superb result for us,” said Evans. “To finish fourth and to beat several of the factory teams, like Mitsubishi and BMW, on the world’s toughest rally is a great feeling. We worked well together in the car and our back-up staff were superb.”
Volkswagen emerged from Mitsubishi’s shadow to win the Dakar Rally for the first time in emphatic style. Giniel de Villiers and Dirk von Zitevitz secured victory on the final stage with a winning margin of 8m 59s from team mates Mark Miller and Ralph Pitchford.
Tollefsen and Evans started well on the opening special stage across the pampas between Buenos Aires and Santa Rosa de la Pampa on Saturday, January 3rd and set the 13th fastest time, beating American Nascar and Indy racer Robbie Gordon and several factory cars.
The route continued its run south to the Atlantic coastal town of Puerto Madryn across the barren landscapes of Patagonia, but Tollefsen and Evans slipped down the leader board to 18th after setting the 26th fastest time in their powerful, South African-built V6-engined Nissan Navara.
There was no let up in the punishing time schedule and the Dakar continued its run across western Patagonia to the railway town of Ingeniero Jacobacci. Their Nissan recorded the 21st time on the gruelling 551km special stage and the pair climbed a place to 17th overall.
On the 459km special between Ingeniero Jacobacci and Neuquén, Tollefsen and Evans maintained their consistent start to the event and recorded the 20th fastest time to move them up to 15th overall, as a fierce battle waged between Spaniard Carlos Sainz and Qatar’s Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah for the overall lead.
Teams reached the first of the notorious Argentinean sand dunes on the fifth leg between Neuquén and San Rafaël and numerous crews encountered problems in the soft sand and tricky dune crossings. It was a stage where Tollefsen and Evans made a decisive move up the leader board. Where several of their more illustrious rivals fell by the wayside, the Nissan crew set the 11th fastest time and moved up to 12th position behind a host of factory Volkswagens, Mitsubishis and BMWs.
The dunes were crossed again on day six, as the rally headed north to Mendoza, although heavy rain and localised flooding in the Andes foothills forced event officials to shorten the stage on safety grounds. Al-Attiyah lost his place at the head of the leader board, but Tollefsen set a superb seventh fastest time to move up to eighth in the general classification. The professional Volkswagen team tightened their grip on the overall lead.
The seventh stage between Mendoza and the crossing of the mighty Andes mountain range into Chile was also shortened on safety grounds. Tollefsen was 11th and maintained a fine seventh position, as the rally headed into a rest day at Valparaiso on the Pacific Coast. Evans was already the most successful British entrant on the 2009 Dakar Rally.
The pair maintained their excellent form into La Serena and set the ninth fastest time to maintain seventh overall. They repeated a similar finish as the stage headed through the southern Atacama desert and again maintained seventh overall behind a trio of factory Volkswagens, an official Mitsubishi, a powerful Hummer and a Belgian Nissan.
Driveshaft problems for Poland’s Krzysztof Holowczyc and the eighth fastest time on the shortened Copiapó loop stage moved Tollefsen and Evans up to sixth overall and their cause was bolstered still further when event officials cancelled the timed stage towards Fiambalá, before teams re-crossed the Andes into Argentina.
The shock retirement of overall leader Carlos Sainz and delays and time penalties for Spaniard Joan Roma on the stage into La Rioja lifted Tollefsen and Evans into fourth position, although they set the sixth time on the tricky special, which featured treacherous dune crossings and difficult navigation.
There were only two stages to go, but the special stage into Córdoba was shortened from 545km to 220km by race officials. Tollefsen eased his pace to preserve the Nissan and set the 12th fastest time, but it was sufficient for the pair to retain fourth overall heading into the last stage across the pampas to Buenos Aires.
The duly set the 10th fastest time on the final stage to confirm the superb fourth-placed finish and set the finish celebrations in motion in Buenos Aires.
Overall positions after leg 14:
1. Giniel de Villiers (ZA)/Dirk von Zitzevitz (D) Volkswagen Race Touareg (T1.2) 48h 10m 57s
2. Mark Miller (USA)/Ralph Pitchford (ZA) Volkswagen Race Touareg (T1.2) 48h 19m 56s
3. Robbie Gordon (USA)/Andy Grider (USA) Hummer (Open 1) 49h 57m 12s
4. Ivar Erik Tollefsen (N)/Quin Evans (GB) Nissan Navara (T1.2) 54h 15m 31s
5. Krzysztof Holowczyc (PL)/Jean-Marc Fortin (B) Nissan Navara (T1.2) 54h 48m 46s
6. Dieter Depping (D)/Timo Gottschalk (D) Volkswagen Race Touareg (T1.2) 56h 54m 26s
7. Miroslav Zapletal (CZ)/Tomas Ourednicek (CZ) Mitsubishi L200 (T1.2) 59h 14m 05s
8 Leonid Novitskiy (RUS)/Oleg Tyupenkin (RUS) BMW X3 CC (T1.2) 61h 26m 10s
9. Guerlain Chicherit (F)/Matthieu Baumel (F) BMW X3 CC (T1.2) 63h 00m 46s
10. Joan ‘Nani’ Roma (E)/Lucas Cruz Senra (E) Mitsubishi Racing Lancer (T1.2) 65h 38m 43s
Note to editors:
Quin Evans started off-road racing with his brother Dan at the age of 16 in Northern Off-Road Club events and the ANDC, finishing third overall in his first ever hill-rally championship as a driver in 1997.
He raced enduro bikes on a few rounds of the FIM Cross-Country Rally World Cup, including an outing in the 2001 Australian Safari Rally, and has competed in numerous world championship rounds. He took an outright victory in the 2007 African Heritage Rally with Tollefsen. Evans has also competed with Theirry Charbonnier (Bowler), Richard Hayward (Bowler) and Matt Lee (Mattserati) in recent years.
For further information: contact Emily Evans, e-mail: Emily@qade.co.uk.