13th Stage: Copiapò – La Serena
Link section: 90 km - Special: 441 km – Link section: 204 km – Total: 735 km
The first motorcycles left the bivouac at Copiapò at 8h for the start of the race, leaving a little margin for the Camanchaca, a desert fog caused by the proximity of the Andes and the Pacific, to disperse.
Barreda (Husqvarna) was first out of the starting blocks ahead of Faria (KTM) and Lopez (KTM) but at WP5, Després (KTM) put his foot down and took the lead, followed by Kurt Caselli (KTM), Barreda, Lopez, Faria, Pain and Rodrigues...
About half way through the race, Chaleco Lopez, who had been awaiting his moment, decided it was time to make his mark. The resourceful Chilean, who has worked on his navigation skills, opened the throttle and roared to the front of the field, clawing back 5' from Cyril Després in second and 14’ from Faria, who was just 8’ ahead, to take second overall.
“It was a good day for me”, said Chaleco at the finish of the Special. “I was able to get into the lead and make up precious minutes. But I still have 200 km to go and my gear box is playing up.”
Ruben Faria had a disappointing day but the unruffled Portuguese rider had to manage his race, putting safety ahead of his second place. “I want to get to Santiago”, he said. ”Too bad about the second place. I am mainly here for Cyril.”
The Special was a tough one in terms of navigation. At km 191, Barreda, Verhoeven (Yamaha) and Faria went astray by following Helder Rodrigues (Honda) after the fuel stop.
Cyril Després was keen to spare his machine, as he had eaten a lot of dust and was keen to manage his lead over Chaleco Lopez.