PS Laser stage 7 report

Despres, Sainz and Chagin in control of first half of 2010 Dakar A distance that is unheard of even in cross-country and off road racing, 600km of special stage in one day, is what the contenders had to conquer in today's 7th stage in the 2010...

Despres, Sainz and Chagin in control of first half of 2010 Dakar

A distance that is unheard of even in cross-country and off road racing, 600km of special stage in one day, is what the contenders had to conquer in today's 7th stage in the 2010 Argentina Chile Dakar Rally. The stage was dreadful in every sense of the word with the long distance, extremely difficult navigation, very soft sand in places. An ultra-test for the vehicles, riders, drivers, co-drivers, etc... between the most northern point of the race at Iquique and Antofagasta on the West Coast.

Marc Coma (Spain), Cyril Despres (France), David Fretigne (France) were all lost and together with a large contingency of other motorcyclists worked togeteher to get out of the difficult conditions. Different riders shared the lead through the different checkpoints, Ullevalseter (Norway) was 1st at CP1 and CP2, with Fretigne 1st at CP4 and Lopez (Chile)1st at CP5 and CP6. In the end it was the French Master, Cyril Despres that extended his overall lead to more than an hour.

Because there are no team-orders in VW the competition amongst the three top cars seemto be increasing. Anyone is capable of taking overall honours back in Buenos Aires in a week's time and everyone wants to be on the top step of the podium. Carlos Sainz (Spain) leads the charge at present followed by Nasser Al-Attiyah (Qatar) and Mark Miller (USA). Miller is accompanied by South Africa's Ralph Pitchford as co-driver. Al-Attiyah won the day's stage ahead of BMW driver and the maestro of Dakar, Stephane Peterhansel (France).

Vladimir Chagin (Russia) is the proud holder of the most stage wins in the 32 year history of the Dakar. He now boasts 52 stage wins and leads the truck category in his KAMAZ, ahead of his team-mate Firdaus Kabirov (Russia).

Tomorrow's (Saturday) is the long awaited and extremely well deserved rest day for all competitors. Although some competitors will sleep out in the dunes tonight and only arrive back late tomorrow, most will use the opportunity to repair their vehicles.Everything will be checked and adjusted to ensure the vehicles last for the next seven stages up to the finish in Buenos Aires.

-source: pa laser

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Series Dakar
Drivers Mark Miller , Carlos Sainz , Cyril Despres , Marc Coma , Nasser Al-Attiyah , David Fretigne , Vladimir Chagin , Firdaus Kabirov , Ralph Pitchford