A rugged road trip along the coastline of the Pacific Ocean was the latest challenge at the Dakar.
All four race categories were plunged into a 450km timed special stage as the 2014 Dakar Rally headed south from Iquique to Antofagasta via the Atacama Desert. Hazardous sand traps littered the route with soft powdery fesh fesh waiting to throw a spanner in the works.
We came to a bend that was hidden by a crest and we ended up going straight on. We rolled a few times when we missed the corner. In life you never know what can happen and to leave the race this way is really unbelievable
Carlos Sainz - the Spaniard's Dakar adventure ends early after claiming two stages in his Red Bull SMG Buggy.
In the bike category, it was the Team HRC duo of Joan Barreda and Helder Rodrigues who led the field home today on their CRF450 Rally machines.
Barreda took the stage win by exactly eight minutes from Rodrigues, with Cyril Despres finishing in third on his Yamaha ahead of Olivier Pain. Meanwhile Marc Coma still heads the category overall after he rode to fifth place today on his Red Bull KTM.
Bikes: Overall after Stage 10
1 Marc Coma, KTM, 41:48:33
2 Joan Barreda, Honda, + 00:44:10
3 Jordi Viladoms, KTM, + 02:02:03
Ignacio Casale and Sergio Lafuente, the frontrunners in the quad race, both suffered a navigational mishap on Stage Ten. The South American pair got lost after 25km of the timed special stage but were able to get back on track in time to protect their stranglehold over the race.
Russia’s Sergey Karyakin took the stage win, followed home by Chile’s Casale in second and Uruguay's Lafuente in third.
Quads: Overall after Stage 10
1 Ignacio Casale, Yamaha, 51:54:19
2 Sergio Lafuente, Yamaha, + 00:24:36
3 Rafal Sonik, Yamaha, + 01:15:05
End of the road for Carlos Sainz
In the car category it was Nasser Al-Attiyah who enjoyed the strongest day on Stage 10, leading home the fellow Minis of Stephane Peterhansel and Nani Roma. Arriving in the bivouac at Antofagasta with the fourth quickest time of the day was South Africa’s Giniel de Villiers.
Elsewhere in the car race the Red Bull SMG Rally Team duo of Carlos Sainz and co-driver Timo Gottschalk saw their Dakar adventure end early. During the neutralisation section of the stage the pair were caught out by a sharp turn that saw their Buggy roll out of the contest.
Cars: Overall after Stage 10
1 Roma/Perin, Mini, 38:52:57
2 Peterhansel/Cottret, Mini, + 00:02:15
3 Al-Attiyah/Cruz, Mini, + 00:46:01
The charge of Andrey Karginov behind the wheel of his Team Kamaz Master truck continued on Stage Ten as he once again cut the deficit between himself and general ranking leader Gerard De Rooy. The gap between De Rooy and Karginov is now less than eight minutes as the Russians stay on the hunt.
Trucks: Overall after Stage 10
1 De Rooy/Colsoul/Rodewald, Iveco, 41:54:50
2 Karginov/Mokeev/Devyatkin, KAMAZ, + 00:07:55
3 Nikolaev/Yakovlev/Rybakov, KAMAZ, + 01:29:28
“Sticking to a good routine of eating and drinking during the Dakar Rally is incredibly tough. We spend eight hours – sometimes more – on a bike and push ourselves to the absolute limit. Making the time to eat correctly is hard to manage but if your body is struggling to function then there is little point in having a perfectly prepped motorcycle. In the bivouac I try to eat normal food. There is plenty on offer, nearly everything to suit everybody’s taste, but I like to keep it simple. I will mainly eat pasta and meat but nothing too complicated.”
Dakar Alphabet… Z is for point-Zero of a second
The margins are always fine for those out to win the Dakar Rally and the race leaders will be out to take any advantage they can on the road from Rosario to Valparaiso. Expect the experienced racers to hold steady in the early stages of the race as they prioritise a lack of mistakes over reckless speed. However, all this goes out of the window as the finish line approaches and any sign of weakness at the front will be quickly pounced upon.
On This Stage…
2005: The loop around Atar in Mauritania is remembered fondly by Cyril Despres who controlled the day to take his first stage win of the 2005 Dakar Rally and put himself on course for overall victory.
How many goals did legendary Brazilian footballer Pelé score at the 1962 FIFA World Cup in Chile?
Yesterday’s answer: An average amount of 5mm of rain falls on Iquique each year.
The secret behind completing Stage 11 of the 2014 Dakar Rally will be successfully negotiating the dunes of Copiapo. This region has had a major say on results at recent editions of the Dakar and high hopes can soon end in this ruthless region of the Atacama Desert.