Tomorrow is a well needed rest day. Stage 8, a very fast, winding route along the coast from Valparaiso to La Serena take them up the racers up and along the western coast of Chile. They are in territory they will never forget.Valparaiso, which means Paradise Valley, will be a lovely, historical place for the rest.
Former Leader Nasser Al-Attiyah has retired from the Dakar Rally after missing a waypoint during the sixth stage . I said the flies will be dropping soon and there are now 2 big flies out of the way. Stéphane Peterhansel had a fire issue which ruined his chances of winning. Fly #2 Down.
RE Al-Attiyah: Sven Quandt, sporting director of BMW TEAM X-Raid, said: “We had a problem with the radiator. In spite of the work of the mechanics, the overheating engine was still too much of a problem at the entry to the (sand) dunes. Nasser had the choice between engaging in sand or going around. He chose the second solution but he missed several waypoints which, in accordance with the rules, means an automatic exclusion.”
Summary of stage 7 from Dakar.com…
Pending validation of the results by the race stewards, Spaniard Carlos Sainz (VW) has won the 7th stage, picking up his 3rd stage victory of this 31st Dakar, 3.41 ahead of his American team-mate Mark Miller (VW) and 4.13 in front of American Robby Gordon and his Hummer. As a result, in the general standings “El Matador” Sainz has taken the lead, 9 short seconds ahead of his South African team-mate Giniel De Villiers and 13.53 in front of the Race Touareg belonging to Miller, putting the 3 Volkswagens in the first 3 places! Worthy of note, the 9 times winner of the event Stéphane Peterhansel again suffered problems today. After a fire in the engine of his Mitsubishi Racing Lancer, the Frenchman has now lost all chance of grabbing a 10th victory on his 20th Dakar. In the Open category, Robby Gordon (Hummer) was again victorious and is the undisputed category leader in the general standings. Finally, in the Production category, Japanese driver Jun Mitsuhashi (Toyota) won the stage, but still only managed to claw back 10.20 on Frenchman Nicolas Gibon (Toyota) who retains a solid lead in the category in the general standings.
In the Bikes, Chilean Francisco Lopez (KTM) has won the 7th stage, picking up his 1st success on the Dakar, 3.57 ahead of the leader of the general standings, Spaniard Marc Coma (KTM) and 5.21 in front of France’s Cyril Despres (KTM). As a result, in the general standings Spaniard Marc Coma (KTM) carries on opening up a gap at the top of the rankings, with a 51.22 lead over American Jonah Street (KTM), still leader in the marathon category, and a 52.31 lead over Frenchman David Frétigné (Yamaha), leader of the 450cc category.
In the Quads, Argentine Marcos Patronelli (Can Am) has won the 7th stage, picking up his 1st success on the Dakar, 14.01 ahead of Uruguayan Luis Henderson (Suzuki) and 20.22 in front of Poland’s Rafal Sonik (Yamaha). As a result, in the general standings Czech rider Josef Machacek (Yamaha) is way out in the lead, 2:27.32 ahead of Patronelli and 2:38.27 in front of Polish rider Sonik.