|SA-Dakar Rally: Francisco López takes the second place overall, Duclos 9th.|
Today the Dakar 2012 started to become serious. Yesterday stage was just a brief warm-up, kind of a long prime, but today it was a true special stage, with a 285 kilometers of special stage. The first part of it was fast, before arriving to the gray dunes of Nihuil, product of the high volcanic activity of the past in this region.
And Chaleco López was the rider in charge of opening the road of this first real stage of the Dakar after yesterday´s victory. The Chilean was not intimidated by the fact of not having a guide in front and completed the timed section with the fourth best time, behind Marc Coma, Cyril Desprès and Joan Barreda.
It seems that López decided to take part of the duel that animated the last two editions of the South American Dakar. The difference with the previous years is that Team Giofil Aprilia Racing has taken off strong from the beginning, with the motivation of not losing too much time before the race arrives to Chile, his home country.
Chaleco takes the fourth position 2:44 minutes after Coma, but he keeps his second position overall, while the third place is for the French Cyril Despres, 22 seconds behind the Chilean.
"A stage with no problem, very fast in the first part" said Chaleco. "I felt well, my Aprilia is really fast, and the team has made a great work on the engine. Only at the dunes Marc got me and I took some risks. Then I decided to let go. I know I´m at 85% of my top physical condition, and I prefer to go stage by stage, with no particular goal. For now, things are running great."
The stage was also optimal for Alain Duclos. The French-Malian rider found a great feeling riding his new Aprilia RXV 4.5, which he had been riding since the last days only. During the 285 km of the special, he took over many experienced riders such us Gonçalves, Viladoms, Pain, Svitko and even Enduro´s World Champion Johnny Aubert. The rider made it ninth to San Rafael. With this result, Duclos take the 11th position overall.
"I had so much fun today: I was fast in the sinuous part of the track" Duclos told. "My Aprilia worked fantastically and also I went full gas on the dunes. For me, this is a new bike so I am learning its secrets day after day, but I can feel it has a very powerful engine. Today I overtook many riders, and that gives me an enormous satisfaction. I am among the first fifteen, and that was my goal for these first stages."
On his side, Arnaud Besnier already closed his Dakar adventure after a luxation of the shoulder. The French rider was carried to the bivouac by the medical staff, while Edouard Boulanger finished the stage 56th.
2012/01/02 | 21:50 CET | ARTICLE: MR/SY/HS/BAUER