January 15, 2014
Yesterday, BJ Baldwin brought his Chevrolet Buggy to the finish in 19th. It was clear from the tracking that he had experienced some trouble along the way. They crashed the car during the stage necessitating but did not realise the seriousness of the damage. When the car was inspected on return to the service area, it was discovered a fuelcell was damaged among other items. It was impossible to repair the car so that it could be driven safely today so it meant taking the hard decision to withdraw from the Dakar. BJ has done wonders with the car, a new design, built last year. It is unfortunate that some technical issues has prevented him from showing what he can really do. Lets not forget he has won the Baja 1.000 twice in a row, the Baja 500 and four off-road racing championships in the US.
And then there was one.
Robby Gordon is now the sole remaining Toyo Tires driver still in the 2014 Dakar. He also has an all new car this year, designed from scratch in 2013 and he also has had issues in the race so far. After his repositioning to 10th in stage 8 following his monumental queue for gas at the only fuel station in the liaison section of the special, he might reasonably have expected to get a better result in yesterday's stage 9. And so it looked right up until the last few kilometres.
All was going well until a broken radiator caused the car to overheat. Robby has suffered broken radiators before so the new car is designed to deal with this. His HST Gordini is equipped with a dual cooling system with two circuits and two radiators. After stopping to isolate the broken radiator, he was able to switch to the second radiator circuit and continue. Unfortuately, with only one radiator, he couldn't run at top speed because of the extremely high temperature. However, finishing the stage and being placed without a late arrival penalty beats being stuck in the sand and having the ignomony of waiting for the sweeper to come and find you.
Pictures in the Gallery are from today's stage 10. A report will follow when Gordon arrives to the finish. He is currently running 21st.