Dakar 2007: Honda Press Release 12Jan
File under Dakar Race Honda
Author: Honda Press Release
Location: Paris, France
Dakar Rally 2007 Stage 7: January 12th, Zouerat - Atar
Liaison : 4 km - Special : 542 km - Liaison : 34 km
Total : 580 km.
FRANCISCO ‘CHALECO’ LOPEZ AHEAD IN THE 450CC CATEGORY
Yesterday at Zouerat, all the riders arrived at the bivouac, albeit some later than others, except for Mick Extance. The English rider broke his engine in the special stage to Zouérat, 67km from the stage finish, and was forced to wait for the rescue truck that arrived this morning. Then, he took a ‘plane to Atar.
With fatigue and disappointment in his eyes, Mick Extance met his new friends Francisco « Chaleco » Lopez, at Atar and, as a consolation, the Chilean offered the Englishman a bike to ride in the Por Las Pampas Rally in Chile in September.
The assistance team had also several difficult hours on the muddy stage and arrived at the bivouac at 23.30hrs last night.
The programme of the special between Zouérat and Atar was particularly complex. Running for around 600km, the stage offered a wide range of terrain and was set to finish across a treacherous series of sand dunes. However, a violent sandstorm began in the last kilometres and that encouraged the organisers to cut the special stage distance and cause the loss of 134km of competition.
Tomorrow is the rest day in Atar – a popular tourist destination for visitors to nearby Chinguetti. It is a sacred and mysterious town, mentioned in libraries of ancient manuscripts.
FRANCISCO ‘CHALECO’ LOPEZ (CHILE) N°34 : « I am so happy that they cut the special stage, because it was hard and very long… In the dunes, I got stuck once and the rear wheel was stuck under the wheel arch. I continued my rhythm and I am very happy to reach Atar, but I know that the next week will be also be very difficult. I am really sorry for Extance..It is a route where you always need to concentrate, but I have been very pleased, more than I could have imagined. »
THIERRY BETHYS (FRANCE) N°85 : « It was another good route to the finish. At the start, I rode with Despres and we caught Frétigné quite easily, then Cyril moved ahead. Next, I rode at three-quarter speed with Frétigné and Lopez. David (Frétigné) fell off in the dunes and so I finished with Chaleco. But, 20km from the stage finish, I made a navigation mistake and I lost some time. It was a beautiful stage and I am really happy. »
PAULO CONCALVEZ (PORTUGAL) N°33 : « I rode very well as far as the first passage control and I am certain that I was well-placed. But next, the fuel feed motor broke and I had to carry out some small work so as not to lose the fuel. I lost contact with the riders in front. It was a pity, I had been well-placed. »
HENK KNUIMAN (BELGIUM) N°11 : « I was a little lost at the 33km point where there was a waypoint and a turn in the route, but it was difficult to see in the sand storm. I found the Cap and I was not on a good track… I had to retrace my steps to km71 and recalculate my movements. The sand was very soft and I got stuck…In total, I lost around 30 minutes… »
GREGOIRE BLONDEL (FRANCE) N°83 : « With the sand storm, I really paid attention not to fall off, because my goal is to arrive to the end… I am happy that they stopped the special, it was very long.. »
TEUS VISSER (HOLLAND) N°82 : « A mixed stage for me. All the days we ride together, the three of us, me with Evert and Thomas. When Everts had some brake problems, we lost some time. We fixed at the refuelling point and after that we rode well. »
EVERT KROON (HOLLAND) N° 208 : « This is the third day where I had brake problems. When the bike passes in a big hole, the fuel tank touches the brake pipe. We fixed the problem by putting some water in the brake system and that made it work not too bad. »
THOMAS DE BOIS (HOLLAND) N°173 : «There was a lot of wind and dust, I did not wish to take any risks because I want to arrive in Dakar. I have passed many dunes before but, today, they were very soft. »
450CC CLASSIFICATION ON THE STAGE (PROVISIONAL)
1. LOPEZ (CHILE) HONDA 4h46’35
2. BETHYS (FRA) HONDA 4h50’05
6. CONCALVEZ (POR) HONDA 5h05’50
7. KNUIMAN (HOL) HONDA 5h19’44
38. BLONDEL (FR) HONDA 7h03’22
50. VISSER (NL) HONDA 7h37’05
52. KROON (NL) HONDA 7h38’11
54. DE BOIS (NL) HONDA 7h38’52
450CC OVERALL CLASSIFICATION (PROVISIONAL)
1. LOPEZ (CHILE) HONDA 24h09’17
4. CONCALVEZ (POR) HONDA 25h12’39
5. BETHYS (FRA) HONDA 25h18’12
6. KNUIMAN (HOL) HONDA 25h24’01
38. BLONDEL (FR) HONDA 33h42’00
48. VISSER (NL) HONDA 35h45’47
49. KROON (NL) HONDA 35h58’02
50.DE BOIS (NL) HONDA 36h02’46