Stage 9: Calama – Iquique
Road connection: 37
Selective Section: 422 km
Total: 459 km
The Dakar continues its road to the North and the competitors had, once again, the opportunity to feel the chills of descending the dune slide before crossing the finish line at Los Verde, a 3 km downhill with a slope of 45%. The selective section took part in the Atacama Desert with sand, dunes and fesh-fesh in the menu.
The bivouac in Iquique is located next to the ocean and the breeze is blowing while the sun is in the sky. Willy Alcaraz, started in the 76th position, crossed the finish line in the 41 place while Nicolas Duclos and Sebastien Delaunay started 73rd and came in 49 after eating some fesh-fesh. Overall, Duclos/Delaunay is 48th and Alcaraz, 49th.
Willy Alcaraz N°350: “It was a beautiful special stage, but very brittle. There was so much dust and because I started far back, it was not an easy day. The wind was blowing against my face and we were going over bump after bump on a track destroyed by the trucks. The dunes were not so difficult, but there were many possibilities to get trapped in the sand. With the big uphill tracks, the small engine of the Polaris made it a bit limited, but once I took some pressure out of the tires, I went through it. Anyways, this special stage was better than the others and I am at my place in the stage ranking.
I only had one puncture and almost at the end, I was driving with the trucks and I lost 2 to 3 minutes to find a waypoint as they were gardening for it.
I am sorry for Coronel that I saw him being tolled, it´s my direct rival in the one seater class and T3… It´s a pity.”
Nicolas Duclos/Sébastien Delaunay N°364: “What a day! Says Nicolas as he lays down on the ground, exhausted. We drove over 200 km on fesh-fesh, we got stuck at km 50 and then at 180. Then, at km 200 the fesh-fesh arrived to our knees! We were able to get out thanks to the colors of the Congo flag, which sis similar to the Bolivian flag, and they came to help. They took out air pressure from the tires and helped us to get out. Unfortunately, they got trapped in the sand and we were not able to help them out. Incredible, they were smiling and we were waving good-bye, I hope they will get out. It was an extraordinary vibe, without them we would still be on it!”