Stage 4: San Juan – Chilecito
Road connection: 43 km
Selective Section: 217 km
Neutralization: 157 km
Selective Section: 248 km
Road connection: 167 km
Total: 868 km
The Dakar´s fourth stage, which joined San Juan and Chilecito, the small mining village (La Mexicana) locate at the skirts of La Famatina (6250m) became hell for a number of competitors and two of the Polaris Xtremeplus, Garry Connell/Annie Seel and Yasir Saedan/Laurent Lichtleuchter, were off of the race.
The stage was separated by a neutralization of 157 km, and the selective section was full of stones and rocks and the inevitable heat! Willy was the first to join the bivouac, at 10h30 pm. The other competitors were still driving at that time.
Willy Alcaraz n°350: “Zanirolli is back! Says Willy covered in fesh-fesh as he arrives to the bivouac. It was a hellish stage, 600 km of stones! I think that we did not have a stage as hard as this since 1995-96. About 20 years ago, none of the cars would have made it out of this; it was a huge wrecking yard. I started after Coronel on the first selective section, and after 10 km, there were competitors everywhere, all going around in circles, lost. Then, I made my trace and everyone started to follow me in a line, but when I got stuck on the sand, none of them helped me. A truck stopped and pulled me out, so I thank them. In the second special, we started in the same order we arrived so I was 2 minutes in front of Coronel´s quad when, three times, my rear tires were burst for no reason. I repaired them. Tomorrow it will be the same, fesh-fesh and a canyon. This is crazy!”
Nicolas Duclos/Sebastien Delaunay n°364: “So many things happened to us today that I can´t remember them all, tells Nicolas when he gets up at 6 am after only getting a few hours of sleep. We almost fell at a 60 mt cliff and the RZR had one tire on the air. Then, a truck almost passed over us. We had a break down and we didn´t know why, if it was fuel or anything else. It was already dark and an Astania truck was pulling us, he was going like crazy… We had to stop him because we were worried about rolling over if we kept on going with them. A buggy pulled us then, but I was not in the RZR, Seb was sitting in the passenger´s side with the driving wheel that I had not time to put back, and here we are, it was crazy!”
Garry Connell/Annie Seel n°366: “An oil hose broke during the stage and we lost oil. Marco Piana, in the T4 truck repaired it and the crew was able to keep going. Unfortunately, during the road connection, the oil pressure went down and the engine suffered consequences that made it impossible to fix. Garry Connell and Annie Seel withdraw from the race this morning.
Yasir Saedan/Laurent Lichtleuchter n°386: A stone broke the gear box of the RZR, which lost all oil pressure. Yasir and Laurent were on the neutralization at the moment it broke and it was impossible to pull them to the second selective section. They took the tarmac to the bivouac, which placed them off the race. “At least I will have no more fesh-fesh!”.