The Dakar Rally
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.
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.
|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|
|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|