|SA-Dakar: First stage win for Aprilia´s Francisco "Chaleco" Lopez.|
Stage 7 was an excellent day for Aprilia. Francisco "Chaleco" López was looking for a stage win in this Dakar, and today he got his first victory, in front of Cyril Despres and Marc Coma. The rest day was definitely a good opportunity to recharge energies before a new start.
Today´s stage promised to be the hardest of Dakar 2011, with 839 km total, but as many competitors were still trapped in SS6 on Friday, the organizer decided to shorten the special stage from 631 to 273 km. Chaleco profited of this occasion to mark his first stage win in his homeland.
The Chilean started sixth from the bivouac this morning. During the first part of the special, a very fast portion, he joined Slovaquian Svitko and it took him a while to overtake him because of the dust.
Then, he joined Rodrigues and Coma, with whom he rode for a long time. Then, at CP2, Chaleco signed the best time, maintaining his advantage until the end. The winner is followed by Cyril Despres by 2'21" and Coma, 3'45". After today’s victory, "Chaleco" reduces his gap in the overall ranking. He is still third, but now 18´ behind Coma and 11´ from Despres.
"The first part of the stage was very fast, and it took me some time to overtake Svitko" Lopez reported. "Then, I reached Coma and we continued the road together. He slowed down at the end; there were lots of fesh-fesh. The next stages of the Dakar will be decisive. I´m waiting for the right moment to attack."
The triumph of Team Aprilia was accompanied by the great results of Gerard Farres and Alain Duclos, 12th and 15th respectively. Alex Zanotti keeps his results steady. He is 27th of the day and 40th overall.
The Dakar 2011 will continue to challenge its competitors with a 776 km stage between Antofagasta and Copiapo. A 508 km timed section will measure their talents in navigation and dune surfing before joining the bivouac.
2011/01/09 | 20:40 CET | ARTICLE: MR/SY/BAUER