The Dakar Rally
SS7 Calama – Salta 806 km liaison 220 special 586 km liaison
The Dakar circus crossed the Andes Mountains for the first time this year and entered Argentina. The first riders left Calama at 04:30 am this morning to tackle the Andes in a convoy on road section reaching the record altitude of 4,975 metres.
The 218-km long stage, that took place after having crossed the Andes on mountain tracks above 3,400 meters, was quite simple in terms of navigation but very fast.
Besides the altitude, that stressed the riders' stamina as well as the machines, the key point today was a tactical ride in order to save the bike and the tyres for this first part of the marathon stage. Riders will in fact sleep in a separate bivouac tonight located in Cachi, where no assistance is allowed. Riders will check the bikes by themselves, they will do the necessary repairs with the tools they brought with them and can help each other.
The 7th stage was won by Kurt Caselli, who replaced Marc Coma, injured, ahead of Chaleco Lopez and Olivier Pain, who maintains the lead in the overall classification in front of Chaleco Lopez, second at 6'06" and David Casteu, third at 06'37".
TEAM HRC riders rode more conservatively today in order to save the machines and the tyres and to be in their best shape for tomorrow 492-km special stage. Argentinian Javier Pizzolito finished 16th and sits now in 12th place overall, 35'07" from Pain, while team mate Helder Rodrigues finished 19th and is now in 11th position, 31'32" behind the leader. A conservative ride also for Johnny Campbell, 70th, who didn't push too hard in order to save the machine and the tyres.
|1||Kurt Caselli (KTM)|
|2||Francisco Lopez (KTM) +1.23|
|3||Olivier Pain (YAMAHA) +1.23|
|4||Frans Verhoeven (YAMAHA) +1.30|
|5||Ruben Faria (KTM) +2.30|
|16||Javier Pizzolito – TEAM HRC (Honda) +6.41|
|19||Helder Rodrigues – TEAM HRC (Honda) +7.32|
|70||Johnny Campbell – TEAM HRC (Honda) +33.51|
|1||Oliver Pain (YAMAHA)|
|2||Lopez Francisco (KTM) +6.06|
|3||David Casteu (YAMAHA) +6.37|
|4||Ruben Faria (KTM) +9.42|
|5||Cyril Despres (KTM) +14.07|
|11||Helder Rodrigues – TEAM HRC (Honda) +31.32|
|12||Javier Pizzolito – TEAM HRC (Honda) +35.07|
|77||Johnny Campbell – TEAM HRC (Honda) +5:55.46|