Dakar cancels Monday's Tupiza - Salta stage
The organisers of the 2018 Dakar Rally have cancelled Monday's stage due to poor weather conditions.
The Tupiza – Salta test, ninth of the 14 scheduled for this year's marathon, was to feature a 242km timed special across classes and was to mark the end of the event's Bolivian leg.
However, recent heavy rains in the area created doubts over the stage's viability, and event promoter ASO has made the decision to call off competition and have the rally's participants travel to Salta in formation as a caravan.
Contributing to the decision was the state of the Tupiza bivouac. The destination point of Sunday's stage is currently covered in water and mud, although the conditions are not as severe as they had been during last year's washout of the Oruro bivouac, likewise located in Bolivia.
“We have travelled from one area of Bolivia to another, and we are now in a location where the weather is more changeable,” said Dakar sporting director Marc Coma. “And in the last few hours it has been hit hard by rain.
“The bivouac is already in poor condition. It would be possible for us to hold a special stage tomorrow, but we prefer not to take a risk and will instead send out whole caravan by road, and continue the race from there.
“In principle, we knew from the start that this part of Bolivia is sensitive in terms of weather.
“Holding the stage would be risky and we do not want to alter the dynamics of what has been a fantastic Dakar up to this point.
“We prefer to be a little conservative today and then be able to hold stage 10 in the best way possible.”
While the 2017 Dakar Rally was rife with stage cancellations and shortened routes due to inclement weather, the cancellation of the Monday stage marks only the second disruption to this year's edition.
The opening stages in Peru were held entirely to distance, and only the stage between Peru's Arequipa and Bolivia's La Paz saw a 118km timed section cut for the bike and quad classes.
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