Haradh, Saudi Arabia, January 14, 2020. Better not to move from the bivouac, today. The sand storm that had been announced already a couple of days ago has arrived, has reached the Dakar during the course of the first half of the Marathon Stage, between Haradh and Shubaytah.
In these cases, for the organizers there is no choice. When the helicopters that keep watch on the Race can not fly the Ride stops. Sometimes the Stage is cancelled, but this morning, at the start, it still appeared that the storm would have only lapped the track of the Special.
The Special was stopped after the stretch of neutralization. The Bikers would have had to cover 175 miles timed, but the ranking of the day stops there. Win Joan Barreda, who dissolved the spell that trapped from the start of the Dakar, and Saudi Arabia. Barreda, preceding on the finish line Ricky Brabec and Kevin Benavides, for a new hat-trick Honda. The salient fact, in every case, is the delay of Quintanilla and Price, are respectively 3 and 6 minutes, which see the move away further, the american in the Race. The team climbs to third place in the General ranking, Brabec is always more firmly to the command of the Rally.
Bravo Maurizio Gerini, the ninth to the end of the… semi-Special. Seen throw a fire at the start of the Special.
Sainz is down…
Similar is the epilogue of the first half of the Marathon Stage for the Race Car. This time with the outline of a couple of interesting twists. The Rally was in fact stopped at kilometre 223, not before the event of two facts.
The first, important, is the false step of Stephane Peterhansel and Nasser Al Attiyah, the parties first, and then with the task to navigate to and open the road. Probably distracted by the duel that sees them protagonists in the chase to Sainz, and by the difficult series of dunes “cut” before the neutralization, the two leaders have taken a wrong track , losing orientation, and… about a quarter of an hour before getting back on the right track.
The mistake of Peterhansel and Attitayah greatly benefits Carlos Sainz, who wins the Stage in front of a Committed and De Villiers, and, above all, resumed the flight in General safe. Al Attiyah and Peterhansel continue to follow, now virtually paired. But it is not a matter of seconds, as on the eve, but nearly twenty minutes late. Not even a red arrow in the day of grace!
The other interesting fact of the day is the spectacular crash of Fernando Alonso. Launched at great speed, but a hair too far transversely over a dune, the Toyota Gazoo Racing number 310, went on an exciting double-barrel stopping on the wheels. As if nothing had Alonso and Coma are broken down at a great speed. Even without the windshield, on the “old” times when they went to the lesson of Dakar in South Africa. Accumulate delay and prepare a complicated Marathon.
The Stage ends in a convoy to the bivouac of the Marathon Stage to Shubaytah. The wind also there. Day and night, not properly the guitar and Lucio Battisti around the fire.
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