Stage 12: El Salvador – La Serena
Special Stage: 350 km
Road connection: 349
Total: 699 km
The Dakar continues its way to Valparaiso, but a decisive stage was still to be played: El Salvador – La Serena, with the famous dunes of Copiapo. This morning, the Camanchaca was the first to come out, but the bikes were still able to take the start on time, and cars even a few minutes ahead of schedule.
In the Polaris Xtremeplus team, Nicolas Duclos and Sebastian Delaunay, in front of Willy Alcaraz in the overall classification, are still biting their nails. They are friends in the bivouac, but rivals on the roads, and none of them wants to give up a place. The lesson learned yesterday helped Willy, which is 37th in the special, while the French-Congo team Duclos/Delaunay completed the stage on the 43rd position. Overall, Alcaraz is 40, 5’01 ahead of Duclos, who takes the 41st spot. There is still one more stage to go before the checkered flag comes down.
Willy Alcaraz N°350: “I kicked out the fool guy that was in the car yesterday, tells Willy, who is smiling again and took control of his race. Yesterday I was so stressed by all the silly things that I did but today, I had a nice performance, without any problems, not even a puncture! There is just one drive shaft bellow that was damaged and the assistance changed it when I left the selective section. We had sand today, but I was expecting something worse… There were some cars trapped in the sand, but it is so easy to get by with our RZR that we went through smoothly.”
Nicolas Duclos/Sébastien Delaunay N°364: “We had four punctures! Says Nicolas as he gets out of the selective section. And we were driving usual… At the beginning of the selective section, there were stony tracks, rivers of stones. There were stones, but less than yesterday. I do not understand why we had so many punctures. This morning, we took the start with three spare wheels, but the third one was flat after 10 meters… I think there was a problem… We repaired and crossed the dunes like that. I was expecting bigger dunes in Copiapo, but no, we crossed three sand stacks without any difficulties. I am still hungry for sand; we did not have that much sand on this Dakar.”
“No Team instructions have been given!!” says Marco Piana.