2011 Dakar Rally News
The Dakar Rally 2011 is almost over, and only the last special stage of 181 km will be played on Saturday, without many difficulties. On Friday, Stage 12 was not a good opportunity to risk anything for the Giofil Aprilia team, especially since one more day ahead.
Sandy grounds in the first part, and mud and water made a very hard stage for the Aprilia Dakar team. Stage 12 was also the longest this year, with 555 km.
There was more to lose than to win on Friday, a reason why Francisco "Chaleco" Lopez decided to be glad with the third place in the podium, letting go the two KTM riders that precede him on top of the ranking. At the same time, "Chaleco" controlled the gap between Helder Rodrigues (Yamaha), the only one that could have gotten in his way.
"Chaleco" finished the stage fourth, 10" from stage winner Marc Coma, and conceded only a few minutes to Rodrigues. The Chilean is third overall, and the Portuguese rider is 4th, 43′ behind.
Alain Duclos made a very expensive navigation mistake at Dakar on Friday. In a road junction, the Aprilia rider took the way that leaded to the trucks´ track.
For safety reasons, and as a proof of his maturity as a rider, he decided to avoid ridding in the opposite direction, so he continued in the same track and missed a way point.
Gerard Farres made a race without forcing much, but it gave him results aboard the Aprilia. The Spanish is 15th in the stage, while Alex Zanotti is 33rd.
Francisco Chaleco Lopez (Aprilia Dakar): "It was a very hard stage, not only by the amount of km, but also for the difficulties of the mud on the track. Last year, these stages were fast, and this year they are very technical. Anyways, it is not worth to risk anything now; the third place in the podium is o.k. for me."
Alain Duclos (Aprilia Dakar) says: "I´ve never made an error like this before while running the Dakar. I was naïve. It was the bifurcation and spectators were there, and I´d mistaken the note and took the trucks’ track."