Series stage 6 gossip

Chaleco madness... The raid may have crossed the Andes but Dakar passion is still there. On the Cordoba side in Argentina a lot of people were quite used to the world rally championship but in Chile hundreds of spectators have come to cheer for...

Chaleco madness...

The raid may have crossed the Andes but Dakar passion is still there. On the Cordoba side in Argentina a lot of people were quite used to the world rally championship but in Chile hundreds of spectators have come to cheer for the local hero: Francisco " Chaleco " Lopez. At 10AM already the finish line of the Antofagasta special stage was flooded with tents and campers, and full of fans ready to welcome the contenders who were still pretty far away. It was time to watch the show of the reporter of Radio Cooperativa. In the middle of the Atacama desert, it almost looked like a World Cup final or the climb of the Alpe d'Huez on the Tour de France... even if "Chaleco" had not even arrived for his day of glory. A few hours later, he would indeed cross the finish line with the best time of the day while Chilean TV took over the live broadcast and spectators invaded the interview area. Chi-chi-chi, Le-Le, Viva Chile...

Tim without Tom

Often - if not always - amongst the last ones to arrive but always in a good mood, the one-of-a-kind Tim Coronel managed once again to cross the finish line of the fifth special yesterday as the sun was setting on the Atacama Desert. "Just finish a stage is already a victory with this car". Indeed, the Dutchman started the Dakar alone behind the wheels of a tiny McRae buggy with a Yamaha R1 engine and no gear box. "I'm really in trouble on the fast track sections but I can tell you that in the sand dunes, I was flying." The man who had shared the wheel of a Bowler last year with his twin brother Tom has the firm intention of going all the way. "Every day is a struggle!" admits Coronel. Best proof is that only 2 of the 7 McRae buggies present at the start are still in the race.

Jo Adua is on the right track

It is his seventh Dakar but - maybe without even being aware of it - the Antofagasta he had been preparing if for three years. On this long special stage (483 km) the driver from Perpignan got a very nice third place in the truck category, his best result ever in a Dakar. He actually managed to squeeze in between the Kamaz. "I even allowed myself to pass the Ginaf manufacturer trucks!" Jo Adua is really in seventh heaven and he knows he owes it to the qualities of the truck of Gerard de Rooy he is driving on this Dakar."We have been seeing a lot of each other for three years. So with his injury in the Silk Way and his father stopping, they offered me the truck and their assistance for this Dakar..." With an envious eye, the driver underlines the flawless preparation of the Dutch team and some other qualities too... his own qualities. "A special stage like this one took some driving skills; we sometimes did 150 on often winding tracks. But there is no secret, if you have good equipment..." Jo Adua does not forget the good job of his copilot Moï Torrelardona: "For more than 400 km, he did not make a single mistake!" What if the only French truck driver were to get used to such successes?...

Argentinean quad riders are running the show

The Antofagasta stage did undoubtedly leave its mark. Men and machines have been put through considerable strain and Spanish rider Juan Manuel Gonzalez the winner of the 2006 edition in the quad category even thinks that the race is going "too fast". At the top of the standings there is now Marcos Patronelli, followed by another Argentine Jorge Santamarina at 36''. There is a funny feeling in the air that the struggle for national supremacy is slowly transcending the quad race. Alejandro Patronelli, Marcos's older brother, dismisses the idea but still admits that "we love to compete"... If it wasn't for the tenacious Spanish rider, Alejandro would also be on the provisional podium. But a closer analysis points to something else: "Without God's help I would never have reached Antofagasta. After 50 km I broke my quad's radiator. I have no idea how I managed to finish. Now my only aim is to help my brother win." The quad race is about to get even more interesting.

-source: aso

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About this article
Series Dakar
Drivers Tom Coronel , Gerard de Rooy , Alejandro Patronelli