Wednesday January 6
Stage 4: Chilecito – Copiapó (Chile)
Road connection: 594 km – Selective Section: 315 km – Liason: 0 Km – Total: 909 km
It is in Chile that Willy Alcaraz finds his marks and finally spends a “clear” day, meaning, a day without troubles, dust or hot weather! Up at down to cross the Andes Mountains through the magnificent Paso San Francisco (4725 meters above sea level) and pass the frontier to arrive to Chile, Willy only took the start of the special stage, located in the Chilean side, at 4 p.m.!
In spite of this late timing, the Polaris Xtremeplus driver arrived to the Copiapo bivouac right after the sunset and did not have to cross the dunes in the dark. The result is satisfying and the triple champion of the T3 class finished the special in the 54th place.
“In the last stage in Argentina – tells Willy at the arrival of the bivouac in Copiapó. I broke the transmission and Marco (Piana, Xtremeplus Team manager) tolled for 170 km behind the T4 truck (race truck)… in the fesh fesh! It was the most horrible day of my life! And I took the fixed time penalty and the team worked all night and I was able to start, that is what matters!
Today, I started the special stage late and it was a beautiful and varied special stage, with rough tracks, some fesh fesh, fast tracks WRC like, and at the end of the special, sand and dunes. Here is the Atacama Desert, the dunes are real cathedral dunes, huge dunes, mountains made of soft sand. I lost time finding the all the waypoints and even passed the same place three times, they were hard to find!
In these famous dunes, I found the other Polaris RZR 1000XT+30 and Marco Piana with his Unimog truck. It was fun to find the Xtremeplus team together in the sand. But I had to stop to deflate the tires, I didn’t want to take the risk of being trapped in the sand… and I did well because I lost five minutes and got back with still some daylight. Jes arrived at 5 am because he waited for the track after hitting a rock and breaking a tire and Marco slept in the dunes, inside the truck.
For me, it was a good day!”
The fifth stage of the Dakar will head North along the Pacific Ocean and will arrive to Antofagasta after 647 km and a timed section of 186 km.