Off-road racing legend Bruce Garland has been forced out of the Australasian Safari in Western Australia.
It was a long, hard and eventful Leg 2 with 491km of competitive stages through coastal station country from Kalbarri to Carnarvon.
Garland clipped a fence post, causing significant damage to the Isuzu D-Max.
“We had a bit of a team discussion about it, and decided we had to withdraw,” said Garland.
“It's my 16th Safari and only the second time I've DNF'd so I really don't like pulling out. Normally we'd try to fix it and keep going, but the sad fact is that Dakar has to be the priority. The car is due to be on a boat and heading overseas in 10 days' time and we couldn't risk a half-repair job and end up doing more damage.
“Obviously it's disappointing, beyond disappointing. We love this event and we wanted a good result. We're still helping the other D-MAX crews so we're not just packing up our tents and disappearing, but we'll work everything out tonight.”
Up front Geoff Olholm in a Mitsubishi Pajero won the leg and took the lead from John Hederics (Holden Colorado) by nearly four minutes.
“We started the second stage and got in front of Hedgie (John Hederics),” said Olholm.
“We got lost for about 30 seconds and then he got in front of us and we were chasing each other for a while, it was good fun. The car is going great and we didn't have any problems. We are not pushing too hard.”
Other autos not completing the tough SS5, the second stage of the day, were Car 102 – Nunzio Coffaro in the Toyota Hilux, Kerry Turley in the Nissan Patrol and Des Harrington in the Nissan Patrol.
Jake Smith on a 2012 Honda CRF450X finished fastest in the motos for a second day in a row. He also took the cautious approach, putting him nearly 16 minutes ahead of nearest rivals Matt Fish on a 2012 KTM 500EXC and Rod Faggotter on the 2012 Yamaha WR450F.
“I had a good day, I was making sure I was looking after myself and the bike. Despite the long day I feel good and fresh,” Smith said.
Yesterday's second fastest rider Shane Diener is out with a knee injury and Warren Strange dropped a few places after stopping to help Diener after he crashed.
Brother Vern Strange continues to hold the lead in the Dakar Challenge with Michael Johnson and Brett Cummings in pursuit.
Leading the Quads is Paul Smith on a 2011 Honda TRX00XX with a 28-minute lead over Heath Young on a 2011 KTM. Young said he had a reasonably good day but struggled in the sand.
Tuesday will see competitors tackling three stages and 410km of what is tipped to be the most spectacular stage of the event taking competitors through a number of stations including coastal Quobba and Gnaraloo Stations and to the tip of the Ningaloo Reef where there will be river crossings, stunning beach runs, sand dunes and twisting station tracks.
Leg 2 Highlights