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Deluge drowns Dakar Stage 8

2013-01-13 06:55

DELUGE DROWNS DAKAR: Brazil's Guilherme Spinelli seen stuck in a flooded river during Stage 8 of the 2013 Dakar rally on January 12. A deluge of rain and the stage's cancellation played havoc with the results. Image: AFP

  Video

Stephane Peterhansel won Friday's Stage 7 and is still leading the 2013 Dakar as it moves into Argentina, his win marred by the death of a French motorcyclist on a link-road collision with a police car.

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TUCUMAN, Argentina - Torrential rain brought chaos to the Dakar rally on Saturday as rivers overflowed and tracks were blocked on Stage 8 between Salta and Tucuman.

"The stewards are meeting to decide on the next step," race director David Castera, the race director told AFP.

Whatever, SA's Giniel de Villiers and Dirk von Zitzewitz were still running third overall - but still 44min off the pace - at the end of the day.

Image gallery

The race was stopped at 88km mark when a riverbed became impassable. At that time 2011 champion Nasser al-Attiyah, who started the day second in the overall standings, was 13sec ahead of America's Robby Gordon with overall leader Stephane Peterhansel, the defending champion, three minutes behind.

Wheels24 understands that the auto results published - only five cars finished the route - below are being contested and that the general feeling is that the results should be calculated from the times achieved at the checkpoint before the heavy rains halted proceedings. We hope to have  fuller story shortly.

'THREE METRES OF WATER'

As the storm worsened, al-Attiyah got stuck and then watched several of his rivals disappear into the distance.

Guerlain Chicherit reached the finish in the fastest time with Peterhansel more than 12 minutes behind while al-Attiyah was left sweating on his fate as the stewards conferred.

"Everything was going smoothly for us, we were putting the pedal to the metal, and everything was fine," said al-Attiyah. "When we got to the river there was three metres of water, no way we could cross that. So we called the organisers, who told us the stage had been neutralised at the second checkpoint."

Watch the day's video

Peterhansel, fifth fastest at the end of the stage, said that if the stage was neutralised at the check point he would not be too concerned as he had lost nine minutes in the early exchanges:

"One of the riverbeds was quite full when we went by and apparently they wanted to neutralise the stage at CP2. This wouldn't be bad news for me, as it would neutralise our navigational mistake and we'd only concede the time lost head-to-head on the course.”

South Africa's Giniel de Villiers, driving an SA-assembled Toyota Hilux, was halted by the river's spate.

"It was quite a challenging stage!," he said. "We didn't get stuck in the water. We simply couldn't cross - it was more that 1.50m deep and we saw the water flowing down towards us."

Robbie Gordon, who apparently finished the day third, added: "It really was a terrific day for us because we stayed at the front of the race throughout the special, despite a flat tyre at the start.

"We may have lost some time but it was a fantastic day overall."

MOTORCYCLES

David Casteu took the overall lead in the rain-hit motorcycling section after long-time leader Olivier Pain endured a miserable stage.

Joan Barreda Bort claimed the 183km timed run in 2hr7min26, ahead of America's Johnny Campbell, who was 7min04 behind, with Slovakia's Ivan Jakes in third, 7min 57sec off the pace.

Torrential rain led to the early part of the planned stage, which had been set for 492km, being cancelled.

Casteu, on a Yamaha, has a 9min26c overall lead on defending champion Cyril Despres and an 11min16 advantage over Portugal's Ruben Faria.

Pain finished more than 30 minutes off the pace and is now fifth overall, 16min10 behind Casteu in the race for the title. He was one of a bunch of riders who got lost at 122km stage.

"A huge navigational success," said Casteu. "I'm over the moon because it's difficult to ride at the front while attacking and keeping your bearings, navigating.

"I was able to keep my cool while everybody else was spinning around but I stayed focused and was the first across the line."

Wheels24 will be following the 'Dakar' rally throughout the race. Keep up with things on our Dakar Rally section.

Dakar Rally motorcycle standings after Saturday's Stage 8 from Salta to Tucuman. The scheduled 492km timed run was reduced to 183km because of heavy rain and because of that these results are provisional - only five cars finished the stage.

Motorcycles
Stage 8

1 Joan Barreda Bort (ESP/Husqvarna) 2hr07min26
2 Johnny Campbell (USA/Honda) +7min043
3 Ivan Jakes (SVK/KTM) +7min57
4 Pedro Bianchi Prata (POR/Husqvarna) +11min10,
5 Vincent Guindani (FRA/Yamaha) +13min07
6 David Casteu (FRA/Yamaha) +14min13
7 Felipe Prohens (CHI/Honda) +14min35
8 Robert Van Pelt (NED/Honda) +15min08
9 Lyndon Poskitt (GBR/KTM) +15min48
10 Helder Rodrigues (POR/Honda) +15min57.

Overall
1 David Casteu (FRA/Yamaha) 19hr56min33
2 Cyril Despres (FRA/KTM) +9min26
3 Ruben Faria (POR/KTM) +11min16
4 Francisco Lopez (CHI/KTM) +12min00
5 Olivier Pain (FRA/Yamaha) +16min10
6 Ivan Jakes (SVK/KTM) +26min22
7 Jeremias Israel Esquerre (CHI/Honda) +27min07
8 Jakub Przygonski (POL/KTM) +31min32
9 Stefan Svitko (SVK/KTM) +33min50
10 Javier Pizzolito (ARG/Honda) +34min55

Autos
Stage
1 Chicherit/Garcin (FRA) SMG 1hr55min06
2 Terranova/Fiuza (ARG) BMW +04min02
3 Gordon/Walch (USA) Hummer +05min17
4 Peterhansel/Cottret (FRA) Mini +12min15
5 Roma/Perin (FRA) Mini +15min43

Overall
1 Peterhanse/Cottret (FRA) Mini 18hr31min04
2 al-Attiyah/Cruz (QAT) Buggy +3min14
3 De Villiers/Von Zitewitz (SA) Toyota +44min03
4 Novistkiy/Zhilstov (RUS) Mini +48min54
5 Chicherit/Garcin (FRA) SMG +1hr04mn50
6 Chabot/Pillot (FRA) SMG +1hr34min51
7 Roma/Perin (FRA) Mini +1hr36min27
8 Terranova/Fiuza (PRT) BMW +1hr5min25
9 Errandonea/Debron (FRA) SMG +2hr02min18
10 Sousa/Ramalho (PRT)

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