7th stage: La Paz - Uyuni (Bolivia)
Link section: 400 km - Special: 161 km – Link section: 240 km - Total: 801 km
The first part of the marathon stage (without assistance), was cut short because of torrential rains that flooded the region.
But the “little” 160 km special was anything but easy, with tough navigation that foxed the riders. The other difficulty of the day was to negotiate dunes at 370 metres above sea level with masses of vegetation. A fair number of riders lost their way, but finally, for the men, the top of the leader board is unchanged.
There were also some stretches of mud! The riders’ strategy on the marathon stage is normally to preserve their machines. They would not be meeting up with the mechanics till the following day in Salta, but the Honda riders now had little to lose given their positions on the provisional leader board. So Ricky Brabec (Honda) went out strongly and won his first stage victory! “I wanted to win a special and above all to forget about last week”, said the American wryly. Paulo Gonçalves (Honda) came second followed by Sam Sunderland (KTM). “I opened the trail”, said Sunderland, “and it wasn’t easy as the vegetation covered the track.”
Joan Barreda (Honda) came fourth, followed by de Soultrait (Yamaha), Metge (Honda), Australia’s Todd Smith (KTM), Matthias Walkner (KTM) and Pablo Quintanilla (Husqvarna).
Adrien Van Beveren got lost like many others and had a bad crash in the dunes, damaging his GPS, but no serious damage was done.
In quad, Karyakin won the special ahead of Dutrie and Casale.