Arica: only for the strongest
THE DAKAR RALLY ARRIVES TO ARICA, NEXT TO THE PERUVIAN BORDER. "CHALECO" IS 6TH OF THE STAGE AND KEEPS HIS 3RD PLACE OVERALL. DUCLOS IS 11TH, ZANOTTI 29TH, WHILE FARRES FACES PROBLEMS AGAIN.
ARICA - The sixth stage of the Dakar concludes in the Pacific Ocean, in the northern city of Arica, only steps away from the border of Peru. The city awaits riders for their rest day, but not before finishing a very long and demanding stage...
While many riders were still on yesterday 's stage, today 's one was composed of a hard test of 721 km, from which 456 were timed. Lots of dust, fesh-fesh, stones and dunes were in the program. It was a brand new trace that made suffer even the strongest, as it is the tradition of the Dakar, before the rest day.
Francisco Lopez finished 6th. The Chilean started second this morning, and opened the track for the first 120 km. At km 146, all top riders joined him and continued the track together for almost the entire stage. Only at the end, Chaleco lowered his rhythm and conceded about 30 seconds to his rivals. He keeps his 3rd place overall, 22' from the leader, Marc Coma, and 8' away from Despres. After this result, Lopez will be able to enjoy a very nice starting position for the next competitive stage on Sunday, the longest timed section of the Dakar 2011, of 631 km, from a total of 839 from Arica to Antofagasta.
Alain Duclos marked his presence among the leaders. The French-Malian rider finished 11th and becomes a great "guard" for Chaleco. Obviously the penalty of the first day is still there, but Duclos keeps on fighting to get into the top 10.
It was a great day for Alex Zanotti, who finally achieved to start in a descent position and rode as he knows how to do it. He took the 29th position of the day and stepped up to the 47th position overall.
Gerard Farres did not have the same luck today. The Spanish fell at km 21 and hit the handlebars, losing lots of time to repair it, but he was able to continue.
Francisco Lopez: "This is the Dakar: a very hard stage for us, official riders' I can 't imagine how it was for private riders. I 'm glad because I opened the road for the first part and I didn 't have problems with the way points. The day after tomorrow will be very important, and I hope to profit from my starting position."