Tuesday, January 13
Stage 9: Iquique – Calama
Road connection: 51 km – Special Stage: 450 km – Road Connection: 37 km – Total: 538 km
The last special stage in Chile was not the easiest one. It contained dunes in the beginning, some fesh fesh, rough and fast tracks, all spiced up by a very acute navigation. But Willy Alcaraz and the Polaris RZR 1000XT+30, excellent in complicated tracks, was even driving with Toyota factory cars. Unfortunately, when he left the main track to fix an electrical issue, the French was hit on the front left side of the Polaris by a buggy…
“The first 150 km went well, with no incidents and I was well placed. Then, I had some electrical problems due to the passage on the salt in the Salar de Uyuni. I left the main track to avoid bothering others, without using the Sentinel, a buggy cut and hit my front left side, I thought my tire was broken but I was lucky. I changed the direction joint and worked on it to continue, but the rim and the suspension were damaged.
I lost a good hour in this and then, when I arrive to look for the waypoint in the fesh fesh, I decided to keep going… there were trucks everywhere going in every single direction and a wall of fesh fesh. I told myself it was better to take the 40 minutes penalty than a truck on my face, it was crazy!”
Tomorrow, the Dakar goes back to Argentina and arrives to Salta. Willy Alcaraz leaves Chile leading the T3 class and with the 49th overall place.