LOPEZ FLIGHT IS NOT ENOUGH DURING A FAST-PACED STAGE, LOPEZ MUST SURRENDER TO THE 690 BIKES. HE IS 4TH OF THE DAY AND 3RD IN THE PROVISIONAL PODIUM. CECI AND ZANOTTI HAVE SOME PROBLEMS TOO, BUT THEY ARE STILL 1ST AND 2ND IN THE 450...
LOPEZ FLIGHT IS NOT ENOUGH
DURING A FAST-PACED STAGE, LOPEZ MUST SURRENDER TO THE 690 BIKES. HE IS 4TH OF THE DAY AND 3RD IN THE PROVISIONAL PODIUM. CECI AND ZANOTTI HAVE SOME PROBLEMS TOO, BUT THEY ARE STILL 1ST AND 2ND IN THE 450 CLASS. TOMORROW IS THE LAST STAGE, WITH A TIMED SECTION OF 202 KM OF FAST TRACKS.
SANTA ROSA DE LA PAMPA - The Dakar 2010 arrives to its end with the last stage tomorrow in San Carlos de Bolivar before the last road connection to Buenos Aires.
Today 's stage was a special like those that distinguish the ASO race. It 's certainly a formality being closer to the arrival in Buenos Aires, but the 368 km were physically demanding, even more exhausting with the high temperatures of the pampas in Argentina. It 's the Dakar and no one can tell who the winner is until they cross the finish line in Buenos Aires, and there are still 200 km to go in a very fast special tomorrow.
More or less in the style the day, after the first 40 km in the dunes of Nihuil, the timed section continued with very fast tracks at maximum speed. On this ground Francisco Lopez 's Aprilia 450 has suffered the attack of the KTM 690, in particularly that of his direct rival Pal Anders Ullevalseter. After being overtaken, Chaleco attacked back in a more technical sector, and then, the Norwegian in passed him again and finished the special a minute and a half before Lopez. Ullevalseter thus gained 5 ' 35 "on Lopez over the stage and takes back the second position in the overall ranking. Chaleco is now 3rd, 4 minutes from Ullevalseter and, obviously, first of the 450. Given the nature of the final stage, it will be very difficult to be able to take back the second step of the podium, but Lopez will do his best.
Meanwhile, Paolo Ceci and Alex Zanotti had some problems during the stage. Ceci 's GPS went off in the initial part on sand dunes, where he needed it the most. Failing to turn it back on, he followed the traces, then when GPS started to work again, he returned to make sure he marked all the way points required. After losing precious time, he was classified 25th. Now, a report for the race stewards is being written, but it doesn 't assure that he will be able to get back the lost time.
Alex Zanotti had problems in the dunes too. Climbing a very high dune he fell and his shoulder was injured once again. The enormous crowd helped him to make it back to the saddle, and then he drove the bike right to the top of the dune, which allowed him to finish the race at a reduced pace. Buenos Aires is near and Alex will have to hold on tight to complete his first Dakar. Now, Zanotti is 2nd in the 450cc class headed by Ceci.
Francisco Lopez: "In tracks that are so fast, it was impossible to keep the pace with the 690, even if my Aprilia is strong. First, Ullevalseter reached me, I overcame him and then he went away. The stage of tomorrow will be a fast track to go full gas, and I doubt that I could be able to take the second place back. But anyways it 's fine, the important thing is to arrive to Buenos Aires and THAT would be already an "outstanding" result."
Paolo Ceci: "This is the second time during the Dakar that my GPS doesn 't work without a reason, and just where I really needed it. I followed the tracks then it worked again, but as I wasn 't sure to have gone through all the way points, I had to return to mark them."
Alex Zanotti: "A trivial fall, I was climbing a very high dune, and I fell with the bike. I wasn 't going fast, but touching the ground I was on my shoulder once again. People rushed to help me and immediately pulled my arm to put my shoulder back ... It was so painful that I saw the stars! "