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The Dakar Rally

Dakar Rally : Stage 11

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January 16, 2013

Unlucky day for Helder Rodrigues and TEAM HRC

SS11 La Rioja – Fiambala (256km liaison – 221 km special – 6 km liaision)

Famous for its white sand dunes and its torrid temperatures, Fiambala is always a very special stage for the Dakar competitors. A cloudy sky with some rainfalls at the beginning of the day was a blessing for the riders that tackled todays’ stage characterized by sandy dunes mixed with some rocky paths and difficult navigation.

Javier Pizzolitozoom
Javier Pizzolito
Helder Rodrigueszoom
Helder Rodrigues

Shortened by 30 km due to the bad weather conditions of the last few days over the region of Catamarca, today’s strategy for the TEAM HRC was to attack to close the gap from the front runners. Starting in 9th position, Helder Rodrigues gave a tremendous performance both in the first rocky part as well on the dunes, without making any navigation mistakes. He was 1st at CP1 and 2nd at CP2 but bad luck prevented him from a well deserved result that would have allowed him to make a big step forward towards the podium. A branch caught one of the wires of his bike and broke it. The bike stopped and it took Helder at least 48 minutes to find out the problem and repair it. Finishing 30th, Rodrigues lost 3 positions and now sits in 9th place overall.

A navigation mistake at the start of the stage complicated today’s performance for team mate Javier Pizzolito, but the Argentinian was able to recover positions, finishing the stage in 21st position that assured him a place in the top 10 overall.

Even if the sand was harder due to the rainfalls of the last few days, it was a very challenging stage for Johnny Campbell, who suffered a lot from the injuries of the previous stages. Despite the intense pain from suspected broken ribs, the “Baja 1000” legend finished 35th and sits now 48th in the overall standings.

Johnny Campbellzoom
Johnny Campbell
Javier Pizzolito SS11 21st +36’29”, 10th overall
"Everything is possible in Fiambala and the cloudy sky helped us a lot as it was not as hot as we expected. The navigation was very difficult today and I got lost with a bunch of riders at the beginning of the stage, where the path was rocky and there were a lot of  tracks. It took us a while to find the first way point, but afterwards I took my rhythm, recovering some positions. I enjoyed a lot the dunes and I look forward to the next stages in Chile. Being 10th overall is a good result but we need to maintain the concentration as tomorrow’s stage in Copiapo will be really crucial for the final result of the race"
Helder Rodrigues SS11 30th +48’29”, 9th overall:
"I’m very disappointed because today I was flying. I was very fast on the stony paths as well as on the dunes, I made no navigation mistakes but it was just an unlucky day for us. A branch caught a wire of the machine, ripping it out and the machine stopped. It took me a lot of time to fix the problem. It’s a pity because today’s plan was to attack and I did it but it was definitely not our day"
Johnny Campbell, SS11 35th +52’52", 48th overall:
"The cloudy sky was a true blessing because I was not fit and the heat would have complicated my stage. My navigation was perfect but I suffered a lot from the pain in my ribs, especially on the dunes and the “off piste” tracks. I fought with my body on the river crossings as there was a lot of water and I was happy to get to the finish"
Katsumi Yamazaki, TEAM HRC Director:
"It was a bad day for us. We had planned to attack with Helder in order to close the gap with the first riders and to get closer to a podium finish. Unfortunately he had an issue with the machine that made him loose valuable time spoiling his stage result and compromising his position in the overall. It’s a pity but Dakar may be like this."

Unofficial Lap times SS11

Rank Rider (Team)
1 Kurt Caselli (KTM)
2 Paulo Goncalves (Husqvarna) +4.45
3 Cyril Despres (KTM) +6.24
4 Juan Pedrero (KTM) +10.18
5 Francisco Lopez (KTM) +10.51
21 Javier Pizzolito - TEAM HRC (Honda) +36.29
30 Helder Rodrigues - TEAM HRC (Honda) +48.29
35 Johnny Campbell - TEAM HRC (Honda) +52.52

Overall Standing

Rank Rider (Team)
1 Cyril Despres (KTM)
2 Ruben Faria (KTM) +13.16
3 Francisco Lopez (KTM) +18.08
4 Ivan Jakes (KTM) +23.33
5 Alessandro Botturi (Husqvarna) +29.32
9 Helder Rodrigues - TEAM HRC (Honda) +1:16.24
10 Javier Pizzolito - TEAM HRC (Honda) +1:23.13
48 Johnny Campbell - TEAM HRC (Honda) +6:55.43

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