12th Stage: Fiambala - Copiapò
Link section: 392 km - Special: 319 km – Link section: 4 km – Total: 715 km
The Dakar crossed the Cordillera de los Andes once more via the Paso San Francisco back into Chile. On the long link section at a vertiginous 4865 m, the motorcyclists were spared by the bad weather, and although the sky was a bit cloudy on the Argentinian side, the road that snaked along the skirts of the volcanos was truly stunning. Back in Chile, the riders were greeted by scorching temperatures. All in all, the 2013 Dakar will go down in the annals as one of the hottest!
The great dunes of Copiapò formed the heart of the Special. Chaleco Lopez would have loved to shine on his home turf but he was the one finding the way. Nevertheless, he made up 4' on Cyril Després overall but fell further behind Faria, currently second on the leader board with an 8’ lead over Chaleco.
Frans Verhoeven (Yamaha) won the Special ahead of Faria (KTM), Barreda (Husqvarna), Duclos (Sherco) and Helder on his Honda, making five different manufacturers in the top five of the Copiapò Stage!
“I didn’t worry about tracks, says the Dutchman. I was meticulous and followed my road book. It was a magnificent Sepcial, very varied with sand, tracks, rocks and rios and tough navigation… There was even some camel grass!”
Helder Rodrigues (Honda) lost over 50' yesterday’s Special (Fiambala) but it was an electric cable, ripped by a branch, not his fuel feed that cost him time. Today, it was his team mate Johnny Campbell who lost time. The American probably broke some ribs in a crash coming just two days after his fall in the Rioja Stage.
Alessandro Botturi (Husqvarna), who put in a good performance, struck out too far seawards at km 155, missing a Way Point that cost him a 1h penalty and his well earned fifth place on the leader board.
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