Stage 7: Salta – Salta
Road connection: 114 km
Selective Section: 533 km
Road connection: 116 km
Total: 763 km
Stage 8: Salta – Calama
Road connection: 510 km
Selective Section: 302 km
Total: 812 km
The rest day was beneficial for all competitors that survived the first week of the Dakar 2014, which has been particularly difficult due to the high temperatures. Unfortunately, it was not very festive as a storm hit Salta after lunch time and then, the rain was on and off over the bivouac until late at night. For this reason, the stage was delayed, but the selective section was not modified: very fast, and unadequate for the Polaris RZR. The journey was difficult for Willy Alcaraz who faced the break of two joints. He was helped by Nicolas Duclos and Sebastian Delaunay, showing their sportsmanship. Both teams joined the bivouac on the 73 and 76 places respectively.
The following day, the first car took the start at 5h15 am to cross the Andes Mountain by the pass of Sico and get to Chile. This 8th special of the Dakar was even more sinuous, and the two Polaris Xtreme managed to complete it successfully taking the 64th (Nicolas Duclos/Sebastian Delaunay) and 68th place.
Nicolas Duclos/Sébastien Delaunay N°364: “Yesterday was a huge stage, tells Nicolas wearing bike googles and a scarf to protect his mouth from the dust, very fast and between altitudes of 3800 and 4300 meters. We then kept on going aroun 80 km/h while others were driving at 180 km/h. Willy broke a joint and we stopped to help him out. Anyways, it was not the right terrain for us.
Today, it was not too cold for us to cross the Andes, we were prepared for it. I had my feet in trash bags, technical underwear and a ski jacket and I was driving inside my sleeping bag. The selective section was in Chilean territory, it was more sinuous and fast. But as it took place at a lower altitude level, we were able to keep a nice pace. I had fun and I had only one puncture… Crossing the Andes Mountains was really something! Beautiful landscapes”.
Willy Alcaraz N°350: “Yesterday I broke a joint that I changed with the help of my team mates. But this new joint broke and I decided to keep on going like that to avoid the penalty. I still took 1h30 minutes of delay. I drove 150 km with the traction and about 200 with three wheel drive.
Today, I was scared because I heard a big noise and I thought the gear box was broken. It was a big stone that got stuck in the transmission. I was obligated to break the stone with a screwdriver. That made me lose some time, but I was rather happy that it wasn’t the gear box. Besides that, it was a nice stage with beautiful landscapes.”