Orly Terranova (R) - Credit: Mark Sullivan
Day three Dakar stage winner Orlando 'Orly' Terranova has said he will now be putting everything he's got into winning this year's event.
The MINI All4 Racing driver - and his navigator Ronnie Graue - sealed their second stage win yesterday (Tuesday) and spoke exclusively to AOL Cars in the service area in Chilecito about his hopes for the rest of the event.
"My race starts now," he told us. "We won day one and we have won today's stage. We need to put day two behind us and concentrate on our performance for the rest of the event."
Terranova, who is currently third overall in the Dakar, rolled his MINI just 8km from the end of the stages on the second day. Luckily for the Argentinian he was just a few miles from his home town of Mendoza and fans flipped his car back upright.
"The car looks like new now doesn't it," he joked. "But yesterday was tough. I noticed there was a problem with the cooler and I was looking with one eye at that and the other at the road ahead and we hit a big ditch and rolled the car four times.
"The impact punctured two tyres and we changed those, but when we got back on the road we could see from the display that a pump was broken so we had to limp back the last few kilometres."
"There is a challenge there from Toyota but we are ahead and faster - this is good," he said. "We won day one and now day three so things have been pretty good for us. Today we overtook four or five cars - it was a good day. I want that to continue."
Terranova and his team mate battled punishing temperatures that topped 60 degrees C in their car, as outside the mercury rose to 42 degrees.
On day four the duo will tackle a 500km road route which will take them 5,000m up into the mountains. To combat altitude sickness Terranova will share the driving with his navigator and grab some sleep, saving his energy for a special stage of some 300km at the end of the day.
"It will be tough tomorrow," he explained. "But it is the mental stress I find the hardest. You are under pressure and this is harder than the physical stress for me.
"You must learn to use this pressure in a good way because when you are under pressure you can make mistakes. This, for me, is the most difficult thing.
"To concentrate I just keep pushing. You cannot let your mind drift to anything else. When you are on the road you must push, brake close, turn fast and if you lose your concentration that will go. When you are fighting it is easy to concentrate but when you're not fighting for the top you can lose it - and I will keep on fighting to the end."
AOL Cars is halfway through a 10-day crossing of Argentina in MINI Countrymans and this was the first and only time we were set to catch up with the Dakar.
We've been tackling some of the routes and taking in the scenery of the legendary event as we traverse the country with teams from across the world. Read our latest blog here.
AOL Cars also caught up with MINI driver and reigning Dakar champion Nani Roma, which you can read about here.