Dakar Rally 2007 Stage 8: January 13th, Atar - Tichit
Liaison : 35 km - Special : 589 km - Liaison : 2 km
Total : 626 km.
THIERRY BETHYS TAKES THE STAGE WIN, CHALECO LOPEZ HITS DIFFICULTIES
The stage after the rest day is traditionally difficult and this year was no exception because of a sandstorm that blew for a good half of the route.
The last kilometres were especially difficult, because they ran on a soft sandy piste, that was twisty and full of hidden stones. This evening there is no assistance - Tichit is a Marathon stage. As nightfall came, a number of riders were still in the sand dunes and on the special stage…
From the information given on Iritrack, Francisco ‘Chaleco’ Lopez stopped around 80 km from PC2…It appears that Lopez broke his chain tensioner and returned to PC1 to rejoin the stage.
Thierry Bethys rode an excellent special stage today to take the 450cc win, ahead of Helder Rodrigues and Henk Knuiman.
Robbie Allan was forced to retire. In the Zouérat to Atar special stage, attempting to cross the dunes at night, he waa forced to climb aboard the rescue truck… It was a bitter disappointment for the 66-year-old Scot who was trying to reach the finish of his first Dakar.
THIERRY BETHYS (FRANCE) N°85 : « It was a super stage for me. At the start, I was a little afraid that I would get lost and I had to ride around for about 10 minutes to find the good track. I saw Chaleco Lopez at the 15km point and thought that he had fallen in the stones. He appeared to have a fuel problem, but he told me to keep going. I was never too lost after that and I really took pleasure in riding the last 100 kilometres in all the sand, like Le Touquet ! »
HENK KNUIMAN (BELGIUM) N°11 : « It worked very well, but I broke the chain tensioner on a stone. I had to stop a certain number of times to put the chain back that had wrapped around the wheel. We don’t have any assistance this evening and I do not have the spare part… I will have to work on some things… while waiting I have already put a new chain on the bike. »
450CC CLASSIFICATION ON THE STAGE (PROVISIONAL)
1. BETHYS (FRA) HONDA 8h33’57
2. Rodrigues (Yamaha)8h47’02
3. KNUIMAN (HOL) HONDA 8h47’09
OVERALL 450CC CLASSIFICATION (PROVISIONAL)
1. Rodrigues (Yamaha) 32h57’31
2. Marchini (Yamaha) 33h29’07
3. BETHYS (FRA) HONDA 33h52’09
4. KNUIMAN (HOL) HONDA 34h11’10
NOTE: No photos supplied