Cancellation at dramatic time of the rally
Just as the 2009 Dakar was about to leave Peru, cross the Andes and re-enter Argentina for the eleventh stage of the rally, organisers announced they were forced to cancel due to heavy fog forecast for the whole route.
desert coastal areas of Chile and Peru are often subject to fog when cool air comes in from the Pacific and hits the Andes Mountains
The cancellation came as a disappointment at a time when the rally is entering not only some of the most dramatic scenery but also at a critical stage. KTM factory rider Marc Coma still maintains a comfortable 1 hour 24 minutes and 50 seconds overall lead over the second placed Frenchman David Fretagne. Meanwhile KTM factory rider Cyril Despres finished hot on the rear wheel of Fretagne in Stage 10 and is now just 3 minutes behind him. Both Coma and Despres, long time rivals and veterans and winners of Dakar Rallies in Africa are very much aware that the race is still wide open. In the last rally held in Africa in 2007, Coma looked a certain winner then crashed in the final stages and had to withdraw leaving second-placed Despres with the prize.
Riders to miss « most majestic » stage
Stage 11, which was to take the contestants from Copiapo to Fiambala, a total of 680 km with a special of 215 km across the Paso San Francisco and into a sandy landscape not unlike Mauretania, had been billed as the « most majestic » stage of the rally.
Organisers announced that because the timing of the stage could not be altered due to the crossing of the Andes and the border crossing between Chile and Argentina they had no alternative but to cancel. Instead participants will now proceed to the Fiambala bivouac in liaison on Wednesday morning local time.
Stage 12 : facing the formidable « White Dunes »
On Thursday riders tackle Stage 12 from Fiambala to La Rioja, a distance of 518 km of which 253 km is the special. Back in Argentina and now in the closing phases of the rally, they will have to call upon all of their technical skills to attack a range of dunes, including the formidable « white dunes ».
KTM dominates the rally
At this stage KTM riders dominate the standings with nine of the top ten positions. Of the four KTM factory riders, Coma is first, Despres is third and Jordi Viladoms is currently in fourth overall. The fourth factory rider, Alain Duclos experienced his best day of the rally in Stage Ten coming home second on the day.