4th January 2011
Good journey for Giofil Aprilia Racing Team with Alain Duclos seventh and Francisco Lopez ninth. The Chilean rider keeps his fourth position overall while the French-Malian, after his fourty minutes penalty, takes the fifteenth position.
CHILECITO - On its march towards the Andes Mountains, the Dakar arrived to Chilecito, in the province of La Rioja. Grounds were similar to those of yesterday. The dry rivers and an orange canyon landscape were the setting of this hard test of 326 km timed section and 424 km of road transfer. Today, riders faced the passage at 3400 meters over Sierra de la Punilla with very high temperatures like the previous days. The Dakar is being difficult from its beginning and it is only starting!
Today, Edouard Boulanger had a fall during the road connection. The rider was in the dust of a quad and was not able to see a hole which made him lost his balance and fall. Injured, he was not able to get back on the saddle.
The stage was like yesterday for Chaleco Lopez. The ground was harsh, trial style, and the Chilean lacks of his top physical condition, but his main goal is to conclude these days in Argentina without giving up too much time to his adversaries hoping that he will be able to perform better in Chile, at the top speed of his Aprilia RXV.
In today's special, Chaleco concluded 9th, with 14 minutes behind the stage winner, Marc Coma. Lopez keeps his 4th place overall, surpassing Casteu and leaving the provisional third place of the podium to Helder Rodrigues.
Alain Duclos carried out a great performance today. Yesterday, the French-Malian rider received a time penalty of 40? for not having unlocked a mandatory way point. For that reason he started from the 37th position this morning and overtook many riders on his way. With all the dust on the Argentinean tracks, this task was not easy, but once again he showed his talent on speed at his best on his Aprilia.
After his outstanding work, Duclos occupies the 15 position of the day and overall. Without the time penalty, he could have been 6th...
Tomorrow, all riders will fight to finish the mythical stage of Fiambala with its white dunes. The journey promise to cause an earthquake in the standings with its 177 kilometers of special section, but it will be hell!
Francisco Lopez: "It was important to complete this stage avoiding any kind of problem. It was physically demanding, and after it I feel quite fine. Tomorrow it is announced as a difficult stage, and then, we will finally arrive to Chile."
Alain Duclos: "I started mad because of the time penalty of yesterday, but now I'm glad with the come out of this stage. It was tiring and slow, but I was able to complete it with many other riders. I found the right feeling with suspensions of my Aprilia, which is behaving quite well."