Series stage eight gossip

"A roof for my country" Created in 1997 by the Jesuit priest Felipe Berrios, the foundation 'Un techo para mi pais' was the special guest at the day of rest. Etienne Lavigne presented a cheque worth 112,000 dollars on behalf of the Dakar...

"A roof for my country"

Created in 1997 by the Jesuit priest Felipe Berrios, the foundation 'Un techo para mi pais' was the special guest at the day of rest. Etienne Lavigne presented a cheque worth 112,000 dollars on behalf of the Dakar to Maria Jesus Jaqueih. The regional director of the Foundation for the 5th region underlined the need for accommodation experienced by the sections of the population in difficulty and the means chosen to provide a swift and operative solution: "It's a house built out of pine wood, measuring 18 square meters on 80-centimeter stilts. Two days are all that is needed to build it. Forty houses like this will be built in Chile and 40 others in Argentina thanks to this donation from the Dakar". The foundation 'Un techo para mi pais' is also present in El Salvador and Peru.

The terrible twins

It is difficult to tell them apart when one or the other climbs out of their Bowler Nemesis, especially with their faces covered in dust. Tim and Tom Coronel are the "terrible twins" of the rally. Tim is taking part in his 2nd Dakar, whereas Tom is discovering it for the first time, although he has plenty of experience on the rally circuit. Both of them have had a tough time so far, mainly because they have already been to hell and back: "I've swallowed so much dust that I'll have to go and see a doctor as soon as I get home," smiles Tim. What's more, "it isn't really easy to work with your brother", explains Tim. At the start in Buenos Aires, they decided to take turns driving, but the situation became a little bit complicated: "Tim has more experience and so he started the race, but then I drove on the third day and broke everything. We had a huge argument and he took over driving again", laughs Tom. Since then, Tim drives on the dunes and Tom takes care of the quicker tracks. What's more, Tom does not hesitate to stop the car to take photos. "It's the best holiday I've ever had in my life," says Tom, bursting out laughing.

Henno's torrid time

Here is a rider who deserved his rest day in Valparaiso. Henno Van Bergeik, who has already taken part in the Dakar, in 2006 on a Yamaha 500 XT (finishing in 93rd position and last place on his arrival in Dakar), is not the type of rider to shy away from difficulty. However, he could have done without the series of mishaps that he encountered on the Mendoza-Valparaiso stage. "My problems started after 120 km, when I hit a large bush at about 50 kmph. The shock twisted the radiator and cut the tubes. It took me almost three hours to repair, on the tracks, but when I set off again, I noticed that there was a hole in the radiator. So, I kept asking the Argentine spectators alongside the route for water and I blocked up the hole with a paste that I reinforced with egg white after someone from one of the nearby farms gave me an egg. I was so tired afterwards that I kept getting lost and falling in the fesh-fesh. I chose this bike to avoid having as many problems, but in the end, I've realized that in the fesh-fesh, it's always just as difficult".

The Chilean president on the Dakar

Michelle Bachelet, President of the Republic of Chile, took advantage of the rest day in Valparaiso to visit the Dakar bivouac, where she spent plenty of time meeting and greeting the participants. Very impressed by the magnitude of the organizational means used to run the event, she also underlined the merits of the competitors: "The physical and moral efforts they spend to stay in the race are outstanding," she commented. On completing her visit, she held an informal press conference with Rally director Etienne Lavigne. The Chilean President expressed her country's joy at being able to hold such an event. She also paid tribute to the memory of Pascal Terry, who died earlier on in the rally. Interrupted by the applause of the undoubtedly moved crowd, she said: "I was going to ask you to hold a minute's silence, but I believe that your applause is a better homage". The leading riders and drivers of the rally then posed with her and the rally organizers for photos.

-credit: aso

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Series Dakar