4th stage: Nazca - Arequipa
Special: 290 km – Link section: 430 km - Total: 720 km
The town of Arequipa, built out of white volcanic “Sillar” rock, is a jewel of the colonial age. Nestling at the foot of the El Misti volcano, the magnificent old town with its treasure house of history and monuments is a prize that has to be earned...
This morning at 5h45, the riders set out from the bivouac at Nazca for a very, very tough Special covering 290 km. At km51, the motorcycles had to leave the main track to follow a different route from the cars and trucks.
From the start of this Dakar, the riders out in front have taken some knocks, and today was no exception, as the navigating was very complex. Even Cyril Després, who was comfortably in the lead, had to slow down to find his way… Behind him, in the sand, it was much easier: you just have to follow the tracks, and the later you start, the greater your chance of making up time on the leaders.
Joan Barreda, who came in 44th yesterday with a broken back wheel, was able to leave today in 24th place thanks to the “Elite” list. He went on to win his second stage in this 35th edition of the Dakar aboard his Husqvarna Speedbrain, followed by Olivier Pain (Yamaha), who is now top of the leaderboard just ahead of a fine trio of Frenchmen: Pain, Casteu et Després!
In the Arequipa Special, Casteu came third behind Pain and ahead of Gerard Farres and Helder Rodrigues on Honda, who had finally put his fuel supply problems behind him. Among the heavy hitters, Després came in 15th and Chaleco Lopez, the great “loser” of the day, in 19th...But tomorrow is another day. The Dakar is heading into Chile and Chaleco Lopez is one of the favourites for a stage victory on his home turf.
In Quad, Marcos Patronelli won his third Special ahead of Sebastian Hussein, the only other rider able to give him a run for his money so far. Lukas Laskawiec came in third ahead of fellow Pole Rafal Sonyk, and Camelia Liparoti finished the Special in 22nd place.
To get to the bivouac in Arequipa, which is at 2200m and where the weather is cloudy and quite cool, the riders will have to cover a further 430 km on windy mountain roads.
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