2011 Dakar: Honda Europe Stage 11 Report

2011 Dakar Rally

The Dakar 2011 organizers have kept their word; each and every day is taking a greater toll in time and energy on all competitors.

The riders cope with very difficult terrain, requiring maximum power in extreme hot weather at close-to zero speed sometimes. This is very hard on the engines for lack of cooling effect from air-flow.

Getting sleep is as important as it is difficult, for only by the time the first wake-up calls are due, the ambient temperature falls to a level that with some imagination might be called comfortable. Sleeping bags are, with some exceptions in the mountains, mostly used to absorb sweat and lots of it.

Quinn Cody (Honda Europe Dakar) got back on track following a difficult time on Stage 10, finishing among the elite riders in 7th place. It took quite some work on his bike to tune it to the day’s stage, one time using a smaller fuel tank for greater cooling effect and another time switching to the larger front tank to extend range.

After a wonderful Dakar Stage 10, Honda rider Alexey Naumov was hit with bad luck, stranded just walking distance from the ASS Arrivée Section Spéciale. The Honda Dakar team was left hoping he will find help on his own, while no assistance at all is allowed inside the special stage. At the time of writing, official times for Stage 11 are not yet available for Alexey.

Mirjam Pol was 67th in the stage, and is now 65th overall. Vadim Pritulyak is working hard to make up for his loss of time on Wednesday.

He left the bivouac after just one hour of sleep and a quickly serviced bike. To be sure, the fuel system was drained of possible foul petrol and refilled with clean fuel. In addition, the ignition module was replaced. Again, no official times for Stage 11 are available yet for Vadim.

Team Arcarons Honda Dakar rider, Laia Sanz, moved closer to victory in the women’s category. She still holds a commanding lead over her nearest female rival Annie Seel. Laia is not taking any chances as she aims to finish the rally as top women rider. Her team mate, Jordi Arcarons, is putting in an equally consistent ride, currently sitting in 43rd position overall.

Quinn Cody (Team Honda Europe Dakar) says: "It went well today, I was pretty upset about yesterday, I was pretty angry. Today, I rode pretty hard, the hardest since I have been here. The terrain here is really similar to Southern Baja, pretty rocky with wet dirt and rocks, and I felt comfortable. I knew what I could expect on the route. Didn’t make a mistake today, kept it up the road and everything went really well. There was almost no navigation today, pretty much just go. I kept up with the danger and passed a bunch of guys. It was a fun day."

Laia Sanz (Team Arcarons Honda Dakar) says: "There are 2 stages left and tomorrow’s stage will be very tough. We’ll have to keep the machinery and our physiques in the best shape condition to finish. Now we only have to think about finishing, nothing else. I’ve taken it fairly easy because there were some quads in front that were impossible to overtake. I had to hold back behind their dust."

Mirjam Pol (Team Honda Europe Dakar) says: "It was a long and warm day. The first section went quite well. So I expected the second to be the same. But it was so hot, that I was really struggling in the last 22 kilometers. I was lucky when I hit a root of a tree in between some rocks and crashed hard. With this heat I think I will take it a bit easier tomorrow".

Chilecito Stage 11, 2011 Dakar Results
Road section, 164 km – Special, 622 km

2011 Dakar Rally Honda Results of Stage 11

7th position for Quinn Cody (Honda Dakar)
Total time 04:48:30 Variation 00:15:17#
45th position for Laia Sanz (Honda Dakar)
Total time 05:46:31 Variation 01:13:18
54th Position for Jordi Arcarons (Honda Dakar)
Total time 06:01:47 Variation 01:28:34
67th position for Mirjam Pol (Honda Dakar)
Total time 06:24:41 Variation 01:51:28

2011 Dakar Overall Results after Stage 11

9th position for Quinn Cody
Total time 47:33:21 Variation 04:18:26
42nd position for Laia Sanz
Total time 55:34:41 Variation 12:19:46
43rd position for Jordi Arcarons
Total time 55:36:02 variation 12:21:07
67th position for Mirjam Pol
Total time 65:45:33 Variation 22:30:38

Preview: Stage 12 San Juan – Córdoba
The final battle for the Dakar title will take place in broad day-light for the trucks, which will have a head start, exceptionally kicking off proceedings for this stage. For the rest, the length of this penultimate stage requires caution, especially over the first still sandy 100km. Since the gaps are sometimes tiny between the quickest drivers and riders, a lot can still change at this stage of the race.