Peter van Merksteijn has continued with a solid debut in the Dakar Rally after posting the twelfth quickest time on the run from Puerto Madryn to Jacobacci, although there were problems on the stage for team-mate Rene Kuipers.
van Merksteijn ended the stage just over 26 minutes behind pace-setter Nasser Al-Attiyah and lies in twelfth place overall at the wheel of his BMW X3 CC, but Kuipers was unable to build on a solid start to the stage when he was forced to stop and change a puncture.
Although he started to make up the lost time, he then found himself stuck behind the Mitsubishi of Tonnie Van Deijne and was forced to follow his fellow Dutchman for the remainder of the stage despite being in a quicker car.
“The first section of the special stage went super,” he said. “There was a lot of dust and a strong wind which made overtaking other cars very tricky. That was until we had a puncture on a front tyre and we had to stop and change the wheel.”
“The better part of the second half of the stage I had to drive behind him [Van Deijne] in the dust. By driving on the other side of the track he created so much dust I could not see a thing and overtaking blind would be too dangerous.”
Despite debating an official protest against the Mitsubishi man, the team elected not to go through with the plans as it 'would have been against the fair spirit of the team and rally'.
After finishing the stage in 23rd place, Kuipers now lies 19th overall.