|SALTA, Argentina (January 9, 2016) – American driver Robby Gordon successfully rebounded from his disappointing finish on Friday in the 38th Dakar Rally with a solid 11th-place finish in his HST Gordini during Stage 7.
Slated to start 50th after a troublesome sixth stage, where Gordon and navigator Kellon Walch was running in the sixth position, became stranded on course out of fuel with less than 50 km left of the stage. Gordon rated as a Dakar Elite driver is allowed to use a mulligan for a poor finish the day before to regain a better starting position.
Electing to use his mulligan Gordon started the seventh stage in the 16 position and raced out to a quick pace keeping with the leaders through KM 150. Knowing once arriving in Salta this evening Gordon and Walch would be able to re-group with the Rest Day scheduled for Sunday, Gordon pressed through the stage looking to keep the Toyo Tires and TRAXXAS backed HST Gordini in the striking distance of the leaders without damaging the race vehicle.
As been the constant theme of the 2016 Dakar, weather once again became a factor in the stage as heavy rain moved in affecting the competitors near Km 200. Gordon known for having a good runs after poor finishes flirted with top-ten the entire stage holding his ground through the challenging terrain and crossing rivers. Gordon finished the Stage in the eleventh position with a time of 3 hours, 29 minutes, 4 seconds, just 10 minutes, and 1 second behind the stage winner. A huge moral booster for Team SPEED after the disappointment of Friday, as the team looks to prepare for the second half of the rally.
Team SPEED teammate Sheldon Creed would start stage 7 in the 38th position after stopping to assist Robby Gordon in the previous stage, really showing positive driving that he has done throughout the rally, Creed would finish the seventh stage in a time of 3 hours, 43 minutes, and 18 seconds in the 21 position, just 24 minutes and 15 seconds behind the winner.
Spains’s Carlos Sainz picked up his first Stage win of 2016, winning Stage 7 in a time of 3 hours, 19 minute, 3 seconds, followed closely by Sebastien Loeb at 3 hours, 19 minutes, 41 seconds, just 38 seconds behind. Qatar driver Nasser Al-Attiyah completed the stage in 3 hours, 22 minutes, and 25 seconds to finish third. Stephan Peterhansel finished fourth with a time of 3 hours, 22 minutes, 30 seconds, while Mikko Hirvonen of Finland would round out the top five in 3 hours, 23 minutes, and 10 seconds.
After seven stages of the 2016 Dakar Rally Loeb has moved back into the overall lead today over Peterhansel by 2 minutes, 22 seconds, followed by Carlos Sainz in the third position 4 minutes, and 50 seconds back. Al-Attiyah holds the fourth position trailing 17 minutes, 36 seconds, while Hirvonen holds the fifth position 32 minutes, 53 seconds behind.
Sunday the eighth consecutive day of the rally, will give Team SPEED a much-needed break in the historic colonial city of Salta. However this is no vacation, the crew will carry out full service of both HST Gordini’s to insure they are prepared to perfection to continue strong the last six stages.
Follow the quest for an American podium finish in the 2016 Dakar Rally for Team SPEED through live timing and scoring as well as live updates with chat at http://www.planetrobby.comand http://www.StadiumSuperTrucks.com
NBC Sports Network (NBCSN) will provide daily highlights after each stage of the 2016 Dakar Rally at 5:30 p.m. ET. Check your local listings for exact time and channel for availability.
Team SPEED is supported by the following partners; SPEED Energy, Toyo Tires, TRAXXAS, KMC Wheels, Arctic Cat, 4 Wheel Parts, Grand Design Recreational Vehicles, Magnaflow Exhaust, Eibach Springs, King Shocks, Outlaw LED, Mastercraft Safety, Holley Performance, Embee Performance, MAC Tools, DeWALT, Freightliner Trucks, Replay XD, Valvoline, Impact by Mastercraft Safety, Lincoln Electric, Torchmate by Lincoln Electric, Ron Davis Racing Products, Techni Waterjet, Mechanix Wear, Saftey-Kleen, Weddle Industries, and Loctite.
Rest Day: Salta
The Dakar has a history in Salta, which hosted the bivouac for the rest days in 2013 and 2014. But once again, this break will not really enable many competitors to laze about in the heart of this town marked by a rich architectural heritage from the colonial era. Their agenda will still be busy: carrying out a full service of the vehicles, taking advantage of extra sleep and refocusing on the even tougher objectives of the second week. Even during the break, the race is still on…