Rosario has been waiting for both rain and the Dakar competitors, who will be arriving over a three-day period for technical and administrative scrutineering. The third biggest city in Argentina welcomed both, but in varying amounts and at differing times.

The inclement weather is often among the hazards on the Dakar. Today, lightning streaked through the Argentinean sky, giving the first day of technical and administrative scrutineering an unusual flavour and an unpredictable nature! For several weeks, the inhabitants of Rosario have been suffering a period of drought and heat that was unprecedented for the last forty years.

Most of them are therefore grateful for this turn in the weather, which however led to some minor delays and provided a handful of striking memories to certain competitors who were expected at the City Center. As such, the riders from the Chilean Tamarugal team, which includes amongst its ranks one of the favourites for the quad category, Ignacio Casale, as well as the Prohens brothers, often at the forefront of the bike race, suffered a rather long delay for their scheduled arrival at scrutineering.

Alain Duclos
Alain Duclos

Photo by: A.S.O.

Although their flight to Buenos Aires managed to land without any problems, the connecting flight that was to take them to Rosario was cancelled.

Having managed to find a bus for hire that was suitably big enough to fit everyone in, this small troop left the Argentine capital by road, with the aim of reaching scrutineering before closure of the gates! The result was mission accomplished, even before sunset. Among the bikers expected to climb into the elite ranks of the race, Alain Duclos and Juan Pedrero, both racing for French constructor Sherco, had been inspired in making the journey early to establish their base camp in Rosario several days ago. However, their team manager, Nicolas Chaix, also experienced a flight problem, preventing him from joining his two riders: “It was impossible to land in Buenos Aires when we arrived, so we were diverted to Montevideo.

Before taking off towards Pistarini airport, we had to wait for at least three hours, so I wasn’t able to be there as planned today. It won’t be a problem though, because there are still two days of scrutineering left, but the funny thing is that during the rest of the year, I’m a captain on these same planes!”

Despite the sky’s flashes, rumbling and precipitation which put somewhat of a dampener on the pace at which the competitors arrived, the programme was almost perfectly respected. At the close of this first day, mainly devoted to the South American competitors, almost 30% of the participants in this formidable challenge have successfully completed all the formalities of the pre-race period. The flag-bearer of the Argentinean delegation thanks to his two titles in the quad category, Marcos Patronelli was sure to remind journalists that “it will be a very demanding edition of the Dakar”. Some of those involved have already been put to the test!

A.S.O. / DAKAR