January 9 2011, Stage 7 standings: Quinn Cody 10th; Alexey Naumov 48th; Mirjam Pol 77th; Vadim Pritulyak 99th;
The day after
Always a new challenge after the rest day; finding the pace again and getting used to the fresh and completely rebuilded bikes. This also produces a mechanical risk as nearly the whole bike has been apart and assembled together with new parts. This day and the first day of the rally are in terms of reliability the most critical days. The mechanics however did a perfect job by seeing all the riders of Team Honda Europe coming in.
Top ten result for Quinn Cody
Quinn Cody even scored his first top 10 result in the Rally! A fuel tank from the team has been brought tot the rest day but it was not necessary to fit. The special stage had been shortened due to the fact that the track already was used in the way up to Arica. Circumstances were not realistic anymore to send the riders in again for the full distance. However it was very technical stage were even the most experienced extreme riders like Depres and Verhoeven had to push it to the maximum. Countryman Jonah Street had a technical problem and Spaniard Viladoms lost time due to a broken rearbrake, which gave Cody the opportunity to move up in the ranking. Cody:,, We made some adjustments to the bike yesterday, and the Honda was running very strong today. It was very dusty at first, but later in the sand dunes it got better. I was riding behind Jonah when he stopped with an electrical problem. I also stopped, to see if I could help him, but he waved me on. I also passed Viladoms. The technical section in the mountains (only for bikes) was no problem for me, it's like we do in California. To the end the tracks were pretty fast. It's getting easier to read the roadbook, but I still need to slow down to find the waypoints. We have not yet had a really tough special, but we'll see what the next days bring.''
Alexey Naumov (47th in the stage, 48th overall) had a little accident today. In the dust behind some quads he missed a few small jumps and went over the handle bars. Luckily enough the clever rider from Russia was not harmed himself and proved his technical skills, found his rhythm again and brought the damaged bike home in a very good 48th position. Naumov: ,,The visibility was none. I crashed the navigation console, but luckily I was ok. I had to follow others to find my way as my navigation equipment wasn't working anymore. I finished without further problems, but the crash was no good off course. Dakar is all about experience, today I learned I have to be careful in the dust.''
Mirjam Pol surprised with her speed today as the technical sections are not her favourites. Sand dunes and navigation are the most ideal combination for her. Mirjam (68th in the stage, 79th overall) moved up ten places today in the rankings. In the women's classification Sanz (Spain) is now leading, Annie Seel who lost an hour thanks to a clutch problem is second, Pol is in third position. Pol: ,,Normally I would not have done the trial section with my enduro bike, let alone the rally bike. But this is Dakar, you have no choice! In the beginning I thought I was doing quite ok until I found out It had just begun. There was a difficult climb, where I looked for an alternative way, which didn't work. I just needed more speed to get up in which I succeeded in the end. You really had to stay on the top of the mountain. Go down at the wrong place and you were in serious trouble. My rear fuel tanks were almost empty, which I didn't realize. When the bike stalled for the 4th time in a climb, I realized I had to open the front fuel tank... In the dunes I caught Annie Seel, she was having a clutch problem. Finally we had a big section with dunes, which was really nice. I saw several riders stuck in the sand, who I was able to pass.''
the mountain. Go down at the wrong place and you were in serious trouble. My rear fuel tanks were almost empty, which I didn't realize. When the bike stalled for the 4th time in a climb, I realized I had to open the front fuel tank... In the dunes I caught Annie Seel, she was having a clutch problem. Finally we had a big section with dunes, which was really nice. I saw several riders stuck in the sand, who I was able to pass.''
Vadim Pritulyak arrived exhausted the bivouac in Antofagasta, he definitely cannot rely on his talent in technical sections and has to make it up with physical power and his incredible will to survive in the rally.
Preview January 10th Antofagasta - Copiapo
Tomorrow the riders will face very long day; after a long connecting stage of 268 km a varied special stage of 503 km will offer all kind of challenges to the riders. The three different phases of the day are likely to give rise to difficulties that will have a knock on effect. The utmost care is therefore recommended for handling the subtleties of navigation at the start of the special stage. In the immense open spaces of Chile, the competitors will have to "jump" from valley to valley: landmarks are rare and it is easy to get confused. Making up any time lost will be a dangerous task on the old mine tracks in the middle of the day's route. Most importantly, a long sandy zone is located at the end of the stage. It will require a very clear head, so it is better to tackle it by day-light rather than with headlights on.