10th Stage: Cordoba - La Rioja
Link Section : 37 km – Special: 357 km – Link Section: 242 km - Total: 636 km
The Dakar is leaving behind the humidity of Argentina but not the searing heat… La Rioja is a little further North, in Catamarca, and the cacti and red earth that line the road hint at the desert to come.
Once again, the motorcyclists followed a different route from the cars, with a parting of the ways at km 183. Still, as usual, the Special was fast and technically demanding.
On the rapid Selective Section, Joan Barreda again came in first, but the young Spaniard is down in 27th overall…Despite his stage victories and flashes of brilliance, he is now too far behind to dream of the podium.
Second today, Cyril Després (KTM) shored up his position at the top of the leader board ahead of his “water carrier”, Ruben Faria, and Chaleco Lopez, now in overall third, with a lead of less than 5' over Ivan Jakes (KTM) of Slovakia. “At the end of the rally, it will come down to physical stamina”, says Cyril Després. ”The heat is overpowering with temperatures of over 40-42°C... It isn’t easy to stay focused. You need to be in great physical shape.”
Paulo Gonçalves (Husqvarna) was third in this tenth Special and Chaleco Lopez a distant 13th. “For two days now we’ve been doing Enduro rather than rally”, says the man from Chile. “I set off last and ate a lot of dust, which made it tough to move up the field. But tomorrow and then in Chile we have two nice sandy specials to look forward to… We still have a lot of kilometres to cover before we get to Santiago.”
In the Yamaha camp, Olivier Pain is now in 9th overall and David Casteu wasn’t at the start today as he has dislocated his shoulder. A blow for Yamaha who were leading the Dakar...
Jordi Viladoms (Husqvarna), who had a mechanical problem he couldn’t fix himself, is waiting for assistance.
In Quad, the suspense has long been over as Marcos Patronelli has been out in front for days with a 1h27' lead over his Chilean rival Ignacio Casale and 2h05 ahead of Poland’s Rafal Sonik. Today, however, it was Lukasz Laskawiec who took the honours ahead of Casale, Sonik and Maffei. Patronelli finished a respectable 7th...
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