|SA-Dakar: Francisco "Chaleco" Lopez arrived to his Homeland Chile.|
The Dakar is now in Chile, in the hot and dry Atacama Desert, in Calama, city of the world´s biggest strip cooper mine. After a very early start from Argentina to cross the Andes Mountains through Paso de Jama, 4800 above the sea level, riders run a special stage of 207 km, the first one in the true desert, with harder navigation before arriving directly to the bivouac.
Lopez marks the third best time of the stage, two minutes behind stage winner Marc Coma. The Chilean starts to feel home in a timed section that wasn´t easy at all, even if it was short. Now he gets into the duel of the two riders that monopolize the Dakar, Coma and Despres. In the general classification, López is now third, 20:12 minutes from the provisional leader, Marc Coma.
"I´m finally home" Lopez said. "The stage was varied, with navigation, lots of stones and all typical situations of the desert, besides the dunes. The KTM are very fast, I didn´t expect them to be like my Aprilia, but the true race will start on thursday."
Gerard Farres maintained his rhythm, protecting his squad´s leader. The Catalonian had some problems with the Trip master and the GPS today too. Farres closed the stage eighteen and takes the same position overall. "Today, at km 80, I had problems with the GPS and the Trip Master, so I think I missed a way point. For the rest, everything was fine, it was a beautiful stage."
Alain Duclos, after yesterday´s incident, run without taking any risks and finishes fifteenth of the day. "Today, I didn´t force anything. Yesterday´s fall made me ride cautiously. It wasn´t an easy day, first with the elevation and coldness on top of the Andes, then hot weather in the desert and a special stage very varied. David Castera drew a perfect stage, just the starters of what we will have for the next days" Duclos said.
Alex Zanotti arrived late yesterday due to a problem of the rear tank, and today he encountered the same problem. The Italian is one hundredth of the stage.
2011/01/06 | 13:28 CET | ARTICLE: MR/SY/BAUER