Wednesday, January 13th, 2010
A smashed sumpguard was the only issue during the 10th stage for the remaining Garland MotorSports Isuzu D-MAX ute competing in the 2010 Dakar Rally.

Swedish duo Pelle Wallentheim and Olle Ohlsson damaged the guard on some rocks but otherwise had a smooth, trouble-free run to finish 17th for the day. They’re now now 25th outright and second in class, with four competition stages to go.

The Swedes’ Australian teammates, Bruce Garland and Harry Suzuki were forced out of competition late last week when a freak accident smashed the radiator, causing the engine to overheat. Because the Australians left the desert rally route to reach camp safely, they were excluded.

“It was a hard road, lots of rocks and ridges, but not too difficult and we had a good run through it,” said Wallentheim.

“We’re just chipping away at the competition. We are second in our class (‘amateur’ or non-factory, modified 4WD diesel), which is what Bruce and Harry won last year. With them out of the race, obviously we want to be first. Bruce is talking about doing some ‘bone pointing’ which I understand is a special Australian process for putting a jinx on your rivals.

“I think it is true what they say: that all is fair in love and war! As long as we can win the class, this ‘bone pointing’ will be fair!”

The 10th stage, from La Serena and Santiago – the last in Chile before teams head east towards the finish line in Buenos Aires – was reasonably straightforward.

It began at Terrnas de Socos after the 112km liaison (transport) section from La Serena and ran for 238km, mainly on twisty and fast rural tracks. Teams then had a second liaison of 236km into the overnight halt in Santiago.

Tomorrow (tonight, Australian time) the Garland MotorSports/Tubus Racing team re-crosses the spine of the Andes mountain range via the Liberatores Pass and moves back into Argentina. A steeply ascending 211km liaison on switchback roads takes teams up into the snowline, adjacent to the towering and majestic peak of Aconcagua, and on through the frontier to the stage start near the Argentinean tourist village of Uspallata in the Mendoza province.

The day’s varied stage reaches an altitude of around 3000m above sea level before beginning a descent into the overnight halt at San Juan in the shadow of the Andes foothills to the west of the pampas. The city is located in the Tulúm Valley, west of the San Juan River.

Today’s stage was won by outright leader, Carlos Sainz (VW), his first stage win of the rally. Behind him was Stéphane Peterhansel (BMW) with Mark Miller (VW) in third. Overall, it’s still the VW Touareg trio leading the field: Sainz, Nasser Al-Attiyah and Miller. Peterhansel is fourth and defending champion Giniel De Villiers (VW) seventh. US NASCAR star Robby Gordon (Hummer), who shared the podium last year with De Villiers and Miller, is 10th.

Just 206 vehicles started the 10 stage, compared with the 362 vehicles which left Buenos Aires on New Year’s Day. There are four stages left to contest before the official finish in BA on January 17.

Wallentheim and Ohlsson are driving an Isuzu D-MAX 4x4 ute, built in Garland’s Sydney backyard. The standard 3.0-litre turbo-diesel production engine has been slightly tweaked for better performance, especially for the high altitude sections of the event. It has maximum torque of 600Nm – up 66 per cent on the standard roadgoing D-MAX ute – and peak power of 180kW, which is 50 per cent more than the standard vehicle. They are competing in Class T1.2, which is modified 4WD diesel.

In 2009, the Swedes finished 44th outright. Their Australian colleagues had finished 11th outright and were first ‘amateur’ (non-factory team) home. They also claimed bragging rights as first diesel ute and first production chassis car. The Swedish duo is now chasing those honours for the Isuzu team.

The Dakar Rally is the world’s premier off-road endurance competition. First staged in 1979, it was traditionally run in Europe and Africa, but moved to South America in 2009 because of safety concerns. The 2008 race – the last to be held in Africa – was cancelled on the eve of the start after the deaths of four French tourists. Their killers had links to the Al Qaeda terrorist network and threatened Dakar Rally organisers and competitors.

There will be regular updates on the team’s performance on the official Isuzu Ute Australia website ( and also on the SBS website (; SBS ONE will show daily highlights of Dakar 2010, every night at 6:00pm AEDT to January 18 and then a one-hour Dakar review from 11am to 12noon on Sunday, January 24.

TIMES: STAGE 10 (all correct at time of writing)

Carlos Sainz (VW): + 3h 01m 05s
Stéphane Peterhansel (BMW): + 28s
Mark Miller (VW): + 1m 02s

17. Pelle Wallentheim/Olle Ohlsson: + 26m 12s

TIMES: OVERALL (all correct at time of writing)

1. Carlos Sainz (VW): 36h 34m 45s
2. Nasser Al-Attiyah (VW): +10m 06s
3. Mark Miller (VW): + 28m 19s

25. Pelle Wallentheim/Olle Ohlsson: + 23h 43m 36s

Liz Swanton
Media Liaison – Garland MotorSports

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Liz Swanton Media Liaison – Garland MotorSports

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M: 0417 232 643


Swedish duo Pelle Wallentheim and Olle Ohlsson finish 17th for the day.


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