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A series of problems was behind Bruce Garland’s lower-than-expected placing at the end of Day Two of the Dakar Rally in Argentina.

Bruce Garland and Harry Suzuki (Car 362) had been sitting as high as 39th in the order before slipping way back somewhere between the 108km and 225km mark.

They finished the day in 72nd place and that, coupled with the Day One result of 51st, sees them in 65th outright.

“It was a really frustrating day in the dust,” says Garland.

“We started the day having a good, clean run and then we got into the tight, twisty stuff and some of the vehicles couldn’t manoeuvre so well and we were driving in all this blinding bulldust, trying to avoid cars and bikes and trucks that were going off the road all over the place.

“At one point there were so many vehicles broken down on the track that we actually headed off into the bushes to get around them. Then when we did get back on the track, we got a puncture.

“So then we were trying to dig a hole in the sand to get the jack set up and there would be trucks going past, tossing a wave of bulldust over you. It was just total insanity out there.

“At one point, when we were going, this truck came past us and it was towing a buggy that had broken down. Of course, the buggy had no control being towed, and it hit one of the bikes that had broken down and pushed it down the road and into our car. Luckily it was mainly just panel damage, but it certainly was a day to remember for all the wrong reasons.”

Adding to the frustration is that there is no re-seeding in the event. Starting position each day is determined by where you finished the day before, so after starting Day Two around 51st spot, courtesy of their Day One finish, Garland and Suzuki will be back around the 72-mark, and will have to make up ground yet again, to pass a lot of the crews they have already proved to be faster than so far.

“I’m stuffed,” says Garland, whose early morning phone call (Argentine time) meant he would get little sleep before the start of Day Three.

“It was a helluva day. Tomorrow is a really long stretch but hopefully the conditions will be better and we can start pulling ahead again.”

 Stage Three: Puerto Madryn to Jacobacci. Total distance is 694km of which 616km is the competitive stage. Route notes suggest this stage (entering Patagonia) will be hillier, with some long curved sections and plenty of lakes to navigate by. Pink flamingoes will be a feature – if the crews have time to notice!

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