SHORTENED STAGE: The bivouac of the 2017 Dakar Rally in Oruro, Bolivia, on January 7 after heavy rains fell in the area. Image: AFP / Frank Fife
La Paz, Bolivia - Dakar Rally organisers have been forced to slash Monday's seventh stage as the gruelling 9000km race continues to be plagued by torrential rain in Bolivia.
The run from La Paz to Uyuni, which should have featured a 322km timed stage, will now be reduced to 161km, with over 600km, instead of 300km, in liaison.
Stage 6 cancelled completely
Bolivia's stages in the race have been badly affected by the weather with Friday's run from Tupiza to Oruro shortened and Saturday's (January 7) Oruro to La Paz stage cancelled completely.
According to Dakar.com: "The new course is an unprecedented combination of the original routes of stages 6 and 7. Today's 161 km special will mainly take place on sandy terrain, sandwiched between a 400 km link section and another one 240km long.
The special starts at 10:00am (Bolivian time), with the first motorcycles expected to reach the Uyuni bivouac at 3:30pm."
Twelve hours of heavy rain fell on Friday (January 6) night leaving large parts of the Oruro bivouac sinking in 20cm of mud and forcing competitors and fans to cover their shoes with plastic bags as they sloshed through the quagmire.
As the 39th running of the Dakar heads into its second week, defending champion Stephane Peterhansel has a 1min9sec lead over Peugeot teammate and nine-time world rally champion Sebastien Loeb in the auto standings.
In the race for the motorcycling title, Englishman Sam Sunderland of KTM has a 7min7sec advantage over Portuguese Paulo Goncalves.