2012 Dakar Rally: Stage 6 Canceled
Weather has once again affected the 2012 Dakar Rally.
First Stage Five was shortened Thursday due to rain creating major ruts on the route near Fiambalá, Argentina, and on Friday, Dakar Rally officials canceled Stage Six due to extremely bad conditions in the highest point of the Rally in the Andes Cordillera in Chile.
Chilean authorities closed the Paso de San Francisco pass, which is the border between Argentina and Chile situated 4700 miles above sea level, due to snow and rain. Authorities believe the conditions were not safe for competitors or support personnel.
Dakar says: “For the 7th time, the Dakar is about to cross over the Andes, and because of very unfavorable conditions, added to the fact that the course has been hit by rain and snow, in order to guarantee the security of the competitors and those following the rally, the organizers have decided to organize a convoy for all vehicles (Friday).”
As of Friday morning, the convey of 2012 Dakar competitors have crossed the Chile border at Paso de San Francisco pass, which authorities opened to the convey only.
The convey of competitors/teams are currently traveling the main road to Copiapo, Chile. Once they reach Copiapo, Chile, the end of the canceled Stage Six, the teams will ready for Stage Seven on Saturday, which runs a loop from Copiapo to Copiapo.
Stage Five Thursday took riders from Chilecito to Fiambalá, but the special stage was shortened from 165 to 115 miles due to storm damage on the bike’s route. After taking his 28th-career stage victory, Red Bull KTM’s Cyril Despres ended the stage 1:41 ahead of his main rival and teammate, Marc Coma.
The Frenchman now holds a 9:50 lead over the Spaniard Coma, with Yamaha’s Helder Rodrigues 46:56 back in third, and Aprilia’s Francisco “Chaleco” Lopez in fourth, 49:00 behind.
Following are the results after five of 14 stages in 2012 Dakar: