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From the Andes to the Pampas
Dakar : Team Dessoude - Leg 12
The 11th special stage, due to be held yesterday from Copiapo to Fiambala, was cancelled. With heavy fog forecast for the whole route, and an unchangeable timetable due to the crossing of the Andes and the border between Chile and Argentina,
the organisers opted to cancel the timed stage. The competitors finally reached Fiambala in liaison conditions, in bright sunshine… there was magic around every corner as they crossed the Andes.

The bivouac for the first part of the marathon stage (and therefore without any of the service trucks), was set up in Fiambala, under torrid heat which did not ease during the night. But at around 6 am, the weather broke with torrential rain falling on the barely-awake competitors. These weather conditions had a significant effect on the route ahead.

So today, they headed for La Rioja, to the south-west, and heading back towards La Pampa, leaving the Andes behind.
The 12th special stage, which had already been shortened by 30 km this morning in order to go around an archaeological site, was neutralised towards the end of the afternoon… the reason given by the organisers : “Considering the number of competitors in difficulties in the soft dunes between kilometres 140 and 170 of the special stage, the Race Directors opted to neutralise the end of the stage to allow these competitors to proceed to La Rioja by liaison from kilometre 175.”

As for Frédéric Chavigny and Stéphane Singery, they had no particular problems today. They are both heading towards the La Rioja bivouac, which they will reach in the evening. Smiling and in a good mood… as usual! Tomorrow they will head for Cordoba, the Argentine motorsport capital, which has hosted a round of the WRC.

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