09 Jan 2017

Dakar's Marathon Stage Slashed Due To Bad Weather


The 2017 Dakar Rally's marathon stage from La Paz to Uyuni has had its timed section cut in half to 161km due to adverse weather conditions.

Monday's test, dubbed a 'marathon stage' as crews will not be allowed any assistance in the Uyuni bivouac, was originally to feature a 322km timed run.

But recurring rainfall in Bolivia has made running the stage to plan untenable, and the timed section has been shortened as a result.

The Bolivian leg of the 2017 Dakar has been affected greatly by weather conditions, which first forced the shortening of Friday's Tupiza–Oruro test and then saw Saturday's Oruro–La Paz timed stage cancelled altogether.

After the bivouac in Oruro was ravaged by torrential rain, competitors travelled on Saturday in convoy to La Paz, where intermittent weather continued through Sunday.

Peugeot trio to play it safe

Making up the top three in the car classification at the midway point of the rally, Peugeot's three remaining contenders have all said they will adopt a cautious approach for the no-assistance marathon stage.

“For sure, we need to manage a little bit different. A marathon stage is always not full attack. We need to be a little bit more safe to save the car,” said rally leader Stephane Peterhansel.

“We know that it's important not to break everything on the first day because we don't have service at the end,” agreed Sebastien Loeb. “It's important to be maybe a bit safe - but for the rest, nothing is different.”

Said Cyril Despres: “The car is quite strong, and I know how to repair it. But still, I don't want to be repairing any damage on the marathon stage. Keeping cool is most important.”

(MS)

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