2011 Dakar News
The fifth stage of the 2011 Dakar, 427 km, finishes after a 2.3 km downhill from the dunes to the coast of the Pacific Ocean, where the bivouac is located. It is here, in the Atacama Desert, where we start to watch the greatest battles of the Dakar.
Francisco López starts feeling home and when the game becomes hard, he takes the right direction on the Aprilia.
"Chaleco" started 3rd from Calam’s bivouac and after overtaking Marc Coma (who fell), he joined Cyril Despres, at the refueling.
Both Aprilia Dakar riders run together for the second part of the stage, taking turns to open the road. The stage win goes to Paulo Gonçalves, and "Chaleco" is second, followed by Verhoeven, Coma and Despres.
The Chilean Dakar Aprilia rider reduces the gap from the two KTM riders; he stays third, but 18 minutes from Coma, and only 8 from Despres.
For Alain Duclos, it was the day of adjustments: yesterday he changed the Aprilia engine and in a technical stage like today, he preferred to take care of the bike and his physical condition, to be able to help Chaleco in case of need. He marked the 15th time of the day.
Gerard Farres took longer to finish the timed section due to a fuel pump problem and crossed the line in the 28th place.
Alex Zanotti, started 100th this morning, was able to carry a Dakar stage without problems. The Italian overtook about sixty riders on his way. He arrives to Iquique in the 39th place, and will be able to start in a better position tomorrow.
For the Stage 6, the Dakar will go from Iquique to Arica, the Northern border of Chile and Peru. A special Dakar stage of 456 km awaits the riders before the rest day.
Francisco Lopez (Aprilia KTM) says: "It was a hard stage, lots of navigation, mostly at the end. It was difficult to find all way points, and from here, it will be more and more complicated. The bike went well, and after joining Cyril Despres at the refueling, we exchanged the lead of the stage until the end."
Alain Duclos (Aprilia KTM) says: "Yesterday I changed the engine, so in the first part I didn´t wanted to demand too much to it. Then, I raised the rhythm, but always safely because I see that my race is compromised. I would like to be able to help Chaleco and all Aprilia Team."
Alex Zanotti (Aprilia KTM) says: "To start so far behind is a nightmare. Today I don´t know how many riders I overtook, and with quads in front of you, it is almost impossible (to see anything). I fell two times in the dust because I lowered my pace and, as I couldn´t see, I lost orientation."