THE LONGEST STAGE TODAY WAS THE LONGEST STAGE OF THE DAKAR, 600 KM OF TIMED SECTOR FROM A 641 TOTAL. LOPEZ BROKE THE CHAIN, WHILE CECI AND ZANOTTI HAD ALSO PROBLEMS, BUT THEY ARE ALL IN ANTOFAGASTA 'S BIVOUAC. TOMORROW IS THE REST DAY, BEFORE ...
THE LONGEST STAGE
TODAY WAS THE LONGEST STAGE OF THE DAKAR, 600 KM OF TIMED SECTOR FROM A 641 TOTAL. LOPEZ BROKE THE CHAIN, WHILE CECI AND ZANOTTI HAD ALSO PROBLEMS, BUT THEY ARE ALL IN ANTOFAGASTA 'S BIVOUAC. TOMORROW IS THE REST DAY, BEFORE CONTINUING WITH THE SECOND PART OF THE RACE.
ANTOFAGASTA - A very hard stage, with seventh of the 32nd Dakar, has brought the caravan from Iquique to Antofagasta. Before the rest day, ASO has proposed the longest special of the rally, 600 km with all kinds of terrain, from trial to dunes, from fast trails to fesh fesh with never ending dust.
Every rider that finished the special as well as the Team Giofil Aprilia Racing 's said that the today was a very hard day.
"Chaleco" started very strong this morning, and he has reached three riders that started before him. He rolled well almost all along the special with his Aprilia RVX 4.5, even at CP5, km 355, he signed the best time. Eighty kilometers before the end, maybe because of a stone, his chain broke. Riders Fretigne and Duclos stopped to help him, but he has lost precious time fixing the bike that was losing fuel. He finished the stage 48 minutes behind the stage winner Marc Coma. After this, he descends to the 5th position in the overall standings, but in this Dakar everything is happening, so no one can anticipate the arrival to Buenos Aires.
Hard day for Paolo Ceci and Alex Zanotti too. The first one, 180 km before the end started to get oil from a fitting that he literally held. To avoid breaking the engine, he stopped many times to ask where he could get the indispensable lubricant and arrived to the end adding three or four litters of diesel engine oil. Therefore, he arrived in the 22nd position of the day, and he occupies the 15th overall now.
Zanotti had other problem. After 80 kilometers, his GPS stopped working. He waited for another rider to follow him. By the end of the special, there was too much dust, which characterizes this Dakar, and he did not see a stone, running into it, landing with his shoulder. He managed to finish the stage with the pain in the 20th position of the day, and takes the same place in the general ranking.
Fortunately tomorrow is the day of rest day. There is much work to do before starting the second part of the race, with the next two stages that had been announced as the most difficult of the whole rally.
Francisco Lopez: "Today 's special was really challenging, but I was well and after fifty miles, the dunes, I had already taken up the tread. Everything was working great, but after CP6 I broke the chain, the bike was dropped from the side and I was thrown from the saddle. It took me a long time to fix everything, especially a loss of gasoline due to the fall. It 's a pity because I felt in shape. Luckily tomorrow is rest day, and then we start again the rush to the podium, which I feel within my reach."