ICA (PERU): American racer Casey Currie and French navigator Laurent Lichtleuchter claimed the category win for the South Racing Can-Am racing team on the second leg of looping trails in Desafio Inca through the demanding Pacific coastal deserts around Ica in Peru on Saturday.

He opened the road for much of the stage on his way to an impressive result across the treacherously difficult dunes and that gave him great experience for the forthcoming Dakar Rally in his short cross-country career.

In the unofficial results – with the various classes combined – Can-Am Peru ‘s Juan Carlos Uribe leads overall in his more powerful and lighter Can-Am. Currie holds second place and Argentina’s Orlando Terranova is an unofficial third. South Racing Can-Ams hold the top three places in the SxS category.

Brazilian driver Reinaldo Varela and his regular co-driver Gustavo Gugelmin were running together with Currie on the first of two laps through the dunes. Varela then suffered an electrical problem with the rear radiator fan at the start of the second pass and lost 50 minutes making emergency repairs.

The Brazilian pairing of Cristian Baumgart and Alberto Neto started the day fifth in the overall SxS class and enjoyed a good run to show their pace in the dunes, the driver being the man to beat at the last three Rally dos Sertões in Brazil.

His brother Marcos Baumgart and navigator Kleber Cincea finished the stage well and enjoyed the experience. Chile’s Hernan Garces opted to race alone in his Can-Am and was delayed after a big impact in the dunes. He managed to complete the first pass but was unable to take part in the second stage of the day.

Portugal’s Miguel Jordão and Lourial Roldan were the last of the South Racing Can-Am team runners on Friday and they had an electrical issue shortly after the delayed refuel and that prevented them from completing the full day’s route.

South Racing’s managing director Scott Abraham said: “It was a good stage for the team today with Casey showing good pace and learning more and preparing for Dakar. He and Laurent did a great job to bring the car home first in the category. They even finished ahead of the T1 cars. There were some very difficult, soft dunes and they were very complicated.”

Argentina’s Adrian Yacopini and Ricardo Torlaschi were unable to start the second day. The driver had fractured his thumb during an impact on Friday’s stage but had showed his return to form, having navigated a Team De Rooy truck for the last two years.

The rally continues with a 180km special stage in the Peruvian deserts around Ica on Sunday before the ceremonial finish.

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