Dakar 2018: Stage Ten Updates
Words by Afzal Rawuther
Stage Ten of Dakar 2018 saw the participants move from Salta to Belen in the first stage held in Argentina this year. The 373 km timed special was split down its middle by a decentralised zone.
Stephane Peterhansel , the 13-time Dakar champion continued from where he left off after stage eight and went on to win his third stage of this year’s Dakar. The two consecutive stage wins have brought him to second overall with Nasser Al- Attiyah slipping to third after being more than thirty minutes off the pace on the stage. Peterhansel now trails his teammate Sainz by 51 minutes in the general classification and has four stages to try and make up that time. After having lead for most of this year’s Dakar, a freak accident on Saturday has cost him the lead and potentially the championship.
Peterhansel and al-Attiyah were close during the initial sections of the stage, but Peterhansel pulled away as the stage went on, finishing 2min 56sec in front at the halfway stage. The Qatari in his Toyota however, fell way back after that. Peterhansel made up for lost time in the first half of the stage over his teammate Sainz, however the Spaniard then matched Peterhansel’s pace in the second half to avoid losing additional time. Cyril Despres continued to shadow Sainz and acted as a support driver following heavy losses in the initial stages of the Dakar that have put him out of contention. A controversial incident involving Sainz and quad rider Kees Koolen had seen the leader being penalised 10 minutes after stage eight.
In what can only be termed as full of drama for the bikes, Matthias Walkner took a lead of 39 minutes. At the start of the stage the top six riders were only separated by just ten minutes, however all top riders, with the exception of Walkner lost their way in the second part of the stage, going over ten kilometres off track, losing massive amounts of time in the process. Walkner began the day in sedate fashion as he was nearly seven minutes behind then leader Kevin Benavides at the halfway stage.
Antoine Meo, Benavides, Joan Barreda and Toby Price all failed to navigate their way out of the tricky bit of the stage. Only van Beveren and Walkner were able find their way during the stage among the frontrunners. Van Beveren was leading Walkner for most of the stage but suffered a heavy crash just three kilometres from the finish, which prematurely ended his rally. He was diagnosed with a broken collarbone as well as injuries to the thorax and spine.
Husqvarna’s Pablo Quintanilla and KTM privateer Gerard Farres finished second and third, 11 minutes and 16 minutes off the pace respectively. Joan Barreda and Kevin Benavides are now second and third in the general classification respectively. Benavides trails his Honda teammate by less than two minutes while Gerard Farres has climbed upto fourth position ahead of Toby Price and Antoine Meo.
In the quad category, Nicolas Cavigliasso finished first followed by Jeremias Gonzales Ferioli in second and overall leader Ignacio Casale in third. Ferioli was separated by two minutes while Casale was six minutes behind. Not having lost much time over the course of the stage, Casale now holds a comfortable one hour and fourty one minute lead over Ferioli in the general classification. Cavigliasso trails behind Ferioli by less than two minutes in third.
In the SxS category, Patrice Garrouste finished an hour and nine minutes before Juan Carlos Uribe Ramos. He still trails Reinaldo Varela by 48 minutes in the general classification, even though the latter finished yesterday’s stage in fourth position an hour and fourty four minutes behind. Brazilian Varela, however has a twelve minute penalty to his name.
Truck category leader Nikolaev finished stage ten in fourth position trailing stage leader Tom Van Genugten by 22min. Frederico Villagra finished a mere 33 seconds adrift of Van Genugten. Siaarhei Viazovich finished 11`minutes after the stage leader in third position. Frederico Villagra narrowed Nikolaev’s lead over him in the general classification to 24min after a strong showing in the stage. The rest of the field is a long way away and Viazovich is almost four hours off the pace in the general classification.
The Indian teams Sherco-TVS and Hero MotoSports had a field day with the top contenders losing their way. Hero Motosports’ rookie Oriol Mena did splendidly well to finish fourth in the stage, separated by 20 mins from Walkner, taking him to 14th overall in Dakar 2018, while his teammate and lone remaining Indian rider CS Santosh finished 44th, close to two hours off the pace. Santosh has moved up to 39th position in the general classification now. Juan Pedrero from Sherco-TVS too had a good day finishing 10th. Pedreo is now placed 17th in the overall rankings.