Al-Attiyah disqualified from Dakar
|By Toby Moody||Thursday, January 8th 2009, 21:57 GMT|
Nasser Al-Attiyah has been disqualified for missing hidden waypoints on today's stage of the Argentina-Chile Dakar Rally.
The Qatari was leading after yesterday's stage to Mendoza, but complained of overheating and a possible cracked cylinder head to his BMW engineers last night.
Only 5 kms into the stage that was shortened from 394 to 178 kilometres, Al Attiyah soon found the water temperature rocketing to 130 degrees with the first dunes approaching.
Opting to then take a way around the dunes to get to the first Control Point, he and co-driver Tina Thorner ran the risk of missing out on secret way points that were in the midst of the dunes they had circumnavigated.
At the pre-event briefing for all competitors in Buenos Aires, David Castera of the Dakar organisers, ASO, stressed the importance of not missing any part of the route, otherwise penalties would be clear; that of exclusion.
This is to try and stop competitors getting massive time penalties, but then continuing in the event and ultimately finishing ahead of others who have ultimately completed the exact route.
This now leaves BMW out of the equation and Volkswagen's massive works effort at the top of the tables with former South African Touring Car Champion Giniel de Villiers at the top of the standings ahead of team mate Carlos Sainz and Baja 1000 specialist Mark Miller.
On the matter of team orders at the start in Buenos Aires, De Villiers said there were none discussed before the event.