CDI Ricardo Dasso takes lead in Caminos del Inca into Ayacucho
Caminos del Inca 2007 (Inca’s Rally 2007)
For immediate release
Monday, September 17th, 2007
RICARDO DASSO TAKES LEAD IN CAMINOS DEL INCA
Peruvian Jochamowitz moves up to second; Kankkunen suffers steering problems;
British driver Simon Nutter faces race against time to repair stricken Fabia
AYACUCHO (Perú): Peruvian Ricardo Dasso and Orlando-based co-driver Michael Baca moved into an unofficial 5m 10s outright lead in the 37th Caminos del Inca 2007 (Inca’s Rally) after the daunting third special stage between Hyancayo and Ayacucho in the Peruvian Andes on Monday.
Dasso set the fastest time of 3h 29m 56s in his Argentina-built Subaru to finish the stage 1m 58s ahead of Ernesto Jochamowitz. Overnight leader Juha Kankkunen suffered steering problems and dropped over 50 minutes to the leaders, while Raul Orlandini suffered suspension-related maladies.
“No problems for me today,” said new rally leader Dasso, who passed Eduardo de la Flor on the stage within the first hour. “We stopped and changed four tyres at the refuelling point half-way through and then I pushed. I have a good lead, but there is still a long way to go.”
Jochamowitz set the second fastest time to move up to a similar place in the overall standings. “It was a good clean run for me today on a nice stage,” said the Peruvian, who is now over 10 minutes ahead of the third-placed Spaniard Carlos Martinez.
“We suffered power steering failure, but that is not too serious a problem,” said Kankkunen, making his first visit to Peru. “The real problem occurred at around 65km when the steering wheel came off in my hand. That is a real problem! I do not know how that could happen. We lost more than 50 minutes, because we were running ahead at that point. It was a nice stage, some sections are like Greece, some are like Kenya, others are unique.”
Today’s 287.15km stage was one of the most spectacular and demanding anywhere in the world. It began on a short tarmac section out of Hyancayo, but the terrain and the track surface changed dramatically once cars headed on to the gravel. Rutted, boulder-strewn piste and sinuous tracks wound their way high into the ice line, as the special reached 4,300 metres and 4,200 metres above sea level before spiralling down into several lush-green valleys in a dramatic landscape.
Hairpin after hairpin ensued, as drivers faced the perils of abyss-like drops, deceptive crests and switch-back trails. The terrain was relentless, but after the third climb to over 4,000 metres, the route headed down to a more bearable altitude as cars passed through remote mountain villages and agricultural terrain – where errant llama, sheep, cattle and stray dogs were additional hazards - en route to the overnight halt in Ayacucho (the city of the churches).
“I have been reporting on international rallies for over 20 years and have never driven or even seen such a beautiful special stage anywhere in the world,” admitted visiting British journalist Neil Perkins. “It was exhausting, but simply spectacular.”
The husband and wife crew of Howard and Ruth Paterson began the day in 42nd place in their diminutive Skoda Fabia, although they were set to struggle on the power-sapping special stages.
Britain’s Simon Nutter and co-driver Sean Kukula faced a race against time to rejoin the event in Ayacucho. A handful of kilometres away from the finish of the special stage between La Oroya and Hyancayo, Nutter noticed that his Skoda’s water temperature was climbing and there were ominous noises from the engine. He tried in vain to coax the stricken Fabia to the stage finish, but the water pump had failed and also damaged the engine’s cylinder head gasket.
The Dubai-based Cumbrian and his Northampton co-driver managed to reach the overnight halt with outside assistance and the decision was taken to strip the engine, return the cylinder head to the Volkswagen dealer in Lima for skimming and repairs, and attempt to restart the event on Wednesday from Ayacucho.
“We are obviously bitterly disappointed to miss a day and be out of the rally, but we have come this far and want to try and get to the finish,” said Nutter. “If we can fix the car, then we will try and get to Ayacucho in time to restart. We came here to finish the race.”
After a rest day in Ayacucho tomorrow (Tuesday), teams will tackle the third leg on Wednesday - a daunting 579.95km section from Ayacucho to Cusco, which includes a pair of 237km and 140km gravel special stages and a 167km tarmac section from Abancay over some of the most spectacular terrain in Perú.
According to Juha Kankkunen this will be the most difficult section of the entire event. The route heads out of Ayacucho on a sinuous gravel track and climbs into the Huamina Pass at 4,400 metres above sea level, before descending dramatically to the town of Ocros and the Pampas River valley at 1,820 metres. The broken gravel stage then climbs again to Chincheros at 2,772 metres, before reaching Andahuaylas via Talavera.
From Andahuaylas the stage heads towards Abancay on a packed gravel road, via San Jeronimo and Kishuara, before a steep descent to the Pachachaca River valley. The final section into Cusco is truly spectacular and uses a switchback road that includes the Carbonera Pass at 4,000 metres. The road passes under the majestic peaks of Sacsarayoc and Salcantay, before crossing the Apurimac River, the Limatambo valley and over the Huillque Pass at 4,280 metres, before descending across the wide plain of Anta and on to Cusco.
The legendary Inca city of Cusco lies in the Huatanay River valley in the southern highlands. In Quechua, Cusco means ‘navel of the world’, for this city was the capital of the Inca empire and extended to all four ‘suyus’ or regions of the Inca empire. It is the seventh largest city in Peru and thrives on tourism, agriculture and its close proximity to Machu Picchu, one of the seven wonders of the modern world.
Caminos del Inca 2007 – positions on Hyancayo – Ayacucho stage (SS3):
1. Ricardo Dasso (PE)/Michael Baca (PE) Subaru Impreza WRX STi 3h 29m 56s
2. Ernesto Jochamowitz (PE)/Gustavo Medina (PE) Mitsubishi Outlander 3h 31m 54s
3. Carlos Martinez (E)/Juan Pedro Cilloniz (E) Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX 3h 38m 06s
4. Ronmel Palomino (PE)/Wilman Palomino (PE) Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX 3h 41m 14s, etc
Caminos del Inca 2007 – positions after leg two (unofficial @ 13.45 hrs):
1. Ricardo Dasso (PE)/Michael Baca (PE) Subaru Impreza WRX 4h 57m 40s
2. Ernesto Jochamowitz (PE)/Gustavo Medina (PE) Mitsubishi SUV 5h 02m 50s
3. Carlos Martinez (E)/Juan Pedro Cilloniz (E) Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX 5h 13m 26s
4. Ronmel Palomino (PE)/Wilman Palomino (PE) Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX 5h 15m 54s
5. Francisco Barco (PE)/Martin Elias (PE) Subaru Impreza WRX 5h 17m 22s
6. Luis Alayza de Losada (PE)/Ive Bromberg (PE) Subaru Forester WRX 5h 20m 10s, etc
For further media information:
Neil and Angela Perkins, NDP Publicity Services, Mobile: + 44 7831 123153, E-mail: NDPPublicity@compuserve.com, www.ndp-publicity.com (press releases).
www.perurally.com or www.incasrally.com