Monday, January 11
Rest day in Iquique
The Dakar´s cars competitors started their marathon stage in Bolivia, meaning, they reached Uyuni without service trucks, no spare parts, tools or mechanics… Just carrying what they could in their machines and their own tools.
To arrive to Uyuni, the stage was composed by a 329 km road connection plus a timed section of 321 km. The way back had two selective sections: one of 472 km, a neutralized section of 274 km and another special of 38 km that ended up with the big downhill slide of the great dune of Iquique.
Willy finished in the 62 position at the camp. It was a very difficult marathon stage due to the rain, the cold temperatures and the mud that caused electrical breakdowns in the machines.
“When I started my way to Bolivia, it was as cold as always, and the road connection was calculated very short on time. I made it to the start and barely had time for anything else than putting my helmet and go, I didn’t even had time to eat. The special stage was beautiful, and everything was going fine until it started we were hit by a heavy rain … I was already freezing, and the cherry on top of the cake was that rivers went up to one meter, and the road book was marked to go in the banks. I had to look for ways how to go along and crossed the river many times… Not to say that being wet with the wind blowing and the cold at high altitude… I´ve never been so cold in my life!
While passing in the cold water, a universal joint broke due to the thermal shock and I had a slow puncture but I kept on going. I couldn´t see at all, I had mud in my eyes and my helmet was covered. When I arrived to Uyuni, I spent like half an hour in the shower trying to warm up, I was so cold that my teeth were chattering.
Then, I worked in the car until 11 pm and in the morning; we took a lined start in the Salar de Uyuni. It was fun, but with our top speed we could not do much. Then, in the mountain roads I was able to reach competitors and the first part was fine. Then, in the neutralized section I had an electrical breakdown. I was lucky to find the outlets that had problems and solved it but I took a late start.
I am glad that the rest day is finally here. The team will work in the Polaris RZR 1000XT+30 and then, we have another five stages to go!”
Tomorrow, the stage will take competitors to Calama, in the skirts of the Andes Mountains.