Robby Gordon kept the #309 Monster Energy Toyo Tires Hummer inside the overall top ten on the 2009 Dakar Rally despite rolling the machine into a ditch during the fourth leg of the event on Tuesday.
Despite being shortened, the section towards Neuguen proved to be among the most difficult of the rally so far as the terrain changed several times before the finish, but Gordon was running well, having started from tenth position, and was holding down fourth place on the stage as he passed the first checkpoint.
Everything was going according to plan until the 379km point, when a mistake while passing another competitor brought the Hummer's progress to a sudden halt. Attempting to pass the slower car, Gordon sounded the ASO-mandated Sentinel alarm a couple of times but, as he was alongside, the other driver turned left while Gordon continued straight, ultimately colliding with a ditch and causing the American entry to roll.
After a quick assessment of the damage, the unhurt Gordon and Andy Grider quickly got back into the race and continued towards the finish line. They were eventually able to salvage tenth place, finishing just 12min 13secs behind stage winner Carlos Sainz and currently sit ninth overall, just over 46 minutes behind the leading Spaniard.
“I am disappointed that we rolled today," NASCAR ace Gordon sighed, "Luckily, the damage is minimal and can be repaired this evening before tomorrow's special.
"Once it happened, Andy and I jumped out to assess the damage but, when we saw that all four tyres were still on, we quickly buckled back in and continued towards the finish. It looks like we only need to replace the air filter housing, the right side door and the windshield, along with a few suspension parts. While making these repairs, the team will carefully go over every inch of the car to ensure that there are no broken parts or hidden damage, but we should be ready to 'roll' tomorrow.”
The sister #324 Vanguard Hummer ended the special in 62nd place having run into problems on Monday.
“We lost a power steering pump bracket yesterday, which is a part that has never failed Team Dakar USA before," driver Eric Vigouroux reported, "Alex and I were able to repair the part, but we lost a significant amount of time doing so.
"However, we stayed positive and finished the special but, since we didn't have a good finish, we had to start farther back today. Our strategy was just to be cautious today and do what we needed to do to make it to the final stage."