2012 Dakar: Stage Five Aprilia Report

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2012 Dakar Rally

Following Stage Five of the 2012 Dakar Rally, which is the final stage to conclude in Argentina, Team Giofil Aprilia Racing Team remains optimistic.

This is due to its main rider, the Chilean Francisco “Chaleco” Lopez, heading to his “favorite playground” in his native Chile, the second of three countries in 2012 Dakar.

The 2012 Dakar Rally began on a positive note for Aprilia RSX rider Lopez, who won Stage One, but there were some troubles up to the present moment.

The latest arrived at Stage Five, which had its special stage of 165 miles shortened to 115 due to the most of the route sustaining severe damage from storms. Roughing it through fesh-fesh and soft sand, Lopez had some navigation issues early in the Dakar stage.

But Lopez regained some rhythm without taking “useless risks,” and finished ninth in Stage Five, 19:10 behind eventual stage-winner Cyril Despres (Red Bull KTM 450 Rally). In the overall Dakar standings, Lopez is in fifth place, a bit over a minute behind Yamaha’s Helder Rodrigues.

Francisco Lopez (Team Giofil Aprilia Dakar) says: “I did not appreciate this stage. The ground was harsh and we risked lots on it. I lost time at the beginning looking for a waypoint, I turned right and the device confirmed the passage. I continued riding when I noticed that with my lack of training it is impossible to keep the pace of Coma and Despres. The podium is still in my possibilities.”

The Aprilia Team reports that Lopez’s “water carrier,” Alain Duclos, had a rough day.. The French-Malian rider fell at kilometer 32. The series of holes made hard to keep the handlebars under control and the GPS and the road-book were damaged with the incident. Duclos finished 41 minutes behind the stage winner, Cyril Despres, takes the 31st place of the stage and is now 18th overall.

Alain Duclos (Team Giofil Aprilia Dakar) says: “I was in the dust of Pedrero and trying to reach him when I found many holes one after the other and at a moment I couldn´t control the bike. The consequences of the accident: broken GPS and the command of the road-book. I had to role the road-book by hand and follow other rider´s dust. It was really hell, and I got trapped in the sand twice. At least, I made it and I am now in Fiambala.”

On Friday, Stage Six of the 2012 Dakar Rally will take Lopez, Duclos and the motorcycle competitors from Fiambala to end in Copiapo, Chile, with a 153-mile special.