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Stage 3 La Rioja to Fiambala notes
Stage 3 - La Rioja to Fiambala
Monday, January 4

* Liaison : 259 km
* Speciale : 182 km
* Liaison : 0 km
* Total : 441 km

Breaking news per ASO Dakar website:
Times given in G.M.T. -3


In order that the race remains as fair as possible, possibilities of adjustments based on the events of the previous day have been imagined.

Indeed, seeing that a great number of competitors will not have returned to the bivouac by night fall, and having to face the passage of the Andes Cordillera, the rally organization has decided to delay the start of tomorrow's stage from 4:00 to 5:30 and set the finish of tomorrow's special at CP3, reducing it of its last 40 kilometers.

The "public zone" planned at km 184,91 has therefore been removed.

16:43 - Car
Stage 3 summary

Pending validation by the race stewards, Frenchman Stephane Peterhansel (BMW) has picked up his first stage victory on this 32nd edition of the Dakar, taking the record for victories in all categories in the Dakar to 52. The rider from Vesoul in France beat Spaniard Carlos Sainz by 5'44 and Qatari Nasser Al-Attiyah by 10'01 (both VW). More importantly, this 19th special stage victory on four wheels allows "Peter" to take control of the general standings: he now boasts a lead of 4'33 over "El Matador" Carlos Sainz and 7'31 over Qatari Al-Attiyah. There were no surprises, however, in the Open category, where American Robby Gordon took a stage victory for the 3rd time, with the 12th best time of the day's special stage.

16:36 - Bike
Stage 3 summary

Pending validation by the race stewards, Frenchman Cyril Despres (KTM) has grabbed his first stage victory on this 32nd edition of the Dakar and the 19th of his career. More importantly, with a time of 3.01:09, respectively 10'40 and 12'09 ahead of Portugal's Helder Rodrigues (Yamaha) and Paulo Goncalves (BMW), the adoptive Andorran has already improved his chances of outright victory, because at the same time his main rivals Spaniard Marc Coma and Frenchmen David Casteu and David Fretigne all encountered problems. In spite of his battery problems, Casteu suffered the least, only losing 12 minutes to Despres, as opposed to the 22 minutes lost by Coma, due to his engine cutting out, and the 1 hour 35 minutes lost by Fretigne, who was hampered by electrical problems... As a result, in the general standings, Cyril Despres has taken control, 10'03 ahead of Casteu and 17'57 in front of Rodrigues, whereas Coma lies back in 8th place, 42'04 behind the leader.

16:27 - Truck
Stage 3 summary

Pending validation by the race stewards, the five times winner of the event, Russian Vladimir Chagin (Kamaz) picked up his 3rd consecutive stage victory, bring his record of special stage triumphs in the truck category to 50, the day before his 40th birthday! With a time of 3.26:53, the "Tsar" beat his faithful lieutenant Firdaus Kabirov (Kamaz) by 11'56 and Brazilian Andre De Azevedo (Tatra) by 37'08. As a result, in the general standings, the road to a 6th outright victory is wide open befor Chagin, who now has a lead of 18'43 over Kabirov and 1.03:42 over De Azevedo. What's more, this 3rd special stage saw the withdrawal of his main rival, Czech driver Alès Loprais (Tatra).

16:22 - Quad
Stage 3 summary

Pending validation by the race stewards, Argentina's Sebastian Halpern (Yamaha) won his first stage victory on the Dakar by triumphing in the 3rd special of this 32nd edition. With a time of 4.13:24, the local boy beat his two countrymen Marcos Patronelli (Yamaha) by 2'08 and Alejandro Patronelli (Yamaha) by 7'27, on a day which was marked by the withdrawal of the stage 2 winner, Frenchman Hubert Deltrieu (Polaris). In the general standings, the Patronelli brothers have taken control, with younger brother Marcos leading his elder sibling Alejandro by 4'21, whereas Sebastian Halpern lies in 3rd, 10'12 behind the leader.

15:54 - Truck
504 - De Azevedo 3rd but 37'08 behind!

Brazilian driver Andre De Azevedo (Tatra) has just finished the day's special, with the third best time of the day, but trails the winner of the day, the "Tsar" Vladimir Chagin (Kamaz), by 37'08.

15:50 - Truck
501 - Victory number 50 for Chagin!

Russian Vladimir Chagin (Kamaz), who has already won the first two special stages of this 32nd edition, again came out victorious at the end of the 3rd special, finishing 11'56 ahead of his countryman and team-mate Firdaus Kabirov. It is the 50th special stage victory on the Dakar for Chagin, on the day before his 40th birthday, and gives him a lead of 18'43 at the top of the general standings.

15:04 - Truck
501 - Chagin strikes back...

The first 5 trucks have completed 117 km of the day's special stage and whilst Russian Firdaus Kabirov (Kamaz) is still out in front, he only boasts a lead of 1'17 over countryman and team-mate Vladimir Chagin (Kamaz). However, the two Kamaz drivers have opened up a veritable chasm between themselves and 3rd placed driver, Brazilian Andre De Azevedo (Tatra), who trails the provisional leader by 27'19.

14:20 - Car
301 - "Peter" takes control!

Now that the first 5 cars have finished the day's special stage, Frenchman Stephane Peterhansel (BMW) has been credited with the best provisional time of 2.55:19, 5'44 better than Spaniard Carlos Sainz (VW), who in turn beat his Qatari team-mate son Nasser Al-Attiyah (VW) by 4'17. More importantly, this 19th special stage victory in the car category on the Dakar, his 52nd stage victory in all (a record), has allowed the Frenchman to take control of the general standings, 4'33 ahead of Sainz.

14:17 - Quad
255 - Halpern wins!

The first 6 quads have finished the day's special stage and Argentina's Sebastian Halpern (Yamaha) has achieved the best provisional time, 2'08 ahead of countryman Marcos Patronelli (Yamaha) and 7'27 in front of Alejandro Patronelli (Yamaha). As consolation for the two brothers, they now occupy the first two places in the general standings, with younger brother Marcos leading his elder sibling Alejandro de 4'21.

14:14 - Car
301 - Peterhansel driving on to victory

The first 5 cars have passed through CP3 after 175 km of the day's special and Frenchman Stephane Peterhansel (BMW) still leads, 5'42 ahead of Carlos Sainz (VW) and 9'43 in front of American Mark Miller (VW).

14:13 - Quad
255 - It's all coming down to the last kilometres!

With the first 4 quads through CP3 after 175 km of the day's special, Argentinean Sebastian Halpern (Yamaha) still leads, but with a smaller gap than before, since he only has leads of 2'35 and 5'34 respectively over the Patronelli brothers (Yamaha), with younger brother Marcos ahead of his elder sibling Alejandro.

14:08 - Car
304 - Roma comes unstuck again!

Nani Roma (BMW), who already rolled his car (without serious results) on the 2nd special yesterday, has again come unstuck. The Spainiard drove into a hole after 95 km on the day's special, fortunately without severe consequences for the crew, but with damage for the X3 !... The Spaniard and his co-pilot, Frenchman Michel Perin, are currently trying to repair it, but will perhaps be forced to wait for technical assistance!

13:37 - Quad
251 - Patronelli fights back.

With the first 5 quads through CP2 after 160 km of the day's special stage, and although Argentine Sebastian Halpern (Yamaha) still leads, he only has leads of 6'23 and 8'02 respectively over his countrymen Marcos Patronelli (Yamaha) and Jorge Miguel Santamarina (Can-Am).

13:32 - Truck
500 - A change of command at Kamaz...

After victory in the first two special stages by the "Tsar" Vladimir Chagin (Kamaz), it is his faithful lieutenant, Firdaus Kabirov (Kamaz) who seems more at ease on this 3rd special stage. Now that the first trucks have made it through CP1 (74 km) on the day's special, Kabirov boasts a lead of 2'07 over his team leader Chagin (Kamaz) and 7'37 over Brazilian Andre De Azevedo (Tatra).

13:05 - Car
301 - "Peter" keeps going...

France's Stephane Peterhansel (BMW) boasts great experience in the sand dunes and looks determined to make the most of it as he is making a demonstration on this sandy special stage. "Peter", who won the Dakar 9 times, started sixth this morning and is currently second on the trails! When the first five cars passed km 117, "Peter" was 5'44 ahead of Carlos Sainz (VW) and 7'13 ahead of US driver Mark Miller (VW).

13:00 - Quad
255 - Halpern confirms...

At the time the first 10 quads reached km 117. Argentina's Sebastian Halpern (Yamaha) was the fastest and enjoyed a 12 minute 11 second lead over his fellow citizen Jorge Miguel Santamarina (Can-Am), and 13 minutes 42 seconds over Marcos Patronelli (Yamaha).

12:55 - Car
300 - De Villiers, stopped!

The winner of the 2009 Dakar, Giniel De Villiers (VW) will have a hard time keeping his title! Due to a severe engine problem at km 50, the South African driver was forced to stop and currently waits for his assistance team...

12:50 - Bike
10 - Goncalves, third of stage 3

Portugal's Paulo Goncalves (BMW) left 53rd this morning and completed the stage at the third position, 12 minutes and 9 seconds behind Despres (KTM), but 4 seconds ahead of David Casteu (Sherco) who is now fourth in the standings of stage 3

12:40 - Bike
1 - Coma 21'37 behind...

Due to engine problems, Spain's Marc Coma (KTM) completed today's special stage in 3 hours 22 minutes and 46 seconds, i.e. 21 minutes behind today's stage winner Cyril Despres (KTM). This is a new hard blow for the title holder, after the 22-minute penalty. Coma now stands 42 minutes and 4 seconds behind the leader of the overall standings!

12:35 - Car
301 - "Peter" increases the gap...

Six cars have passed CP1 (km 74) while Frenchman Stephane Peterhansel (BMW) still leads the stage. "Peter" is now 1'22 ahead of Qatar's Nasser Al-Attiyah (VW), and 3'12 ahead of his main rival, Spain's Carlos Sainz (VW).

12:30 - Quad
253 - Deltrieu is out...

France's Hubert Deltrieu (Polaris), who won stage 2, fell this morning at km 21. He was immediately evacuated to the bivouac in Fiambala. The Frenchman, who had no choice but withdraw, was directly taken care of by the medical staff.

12:20 - Bike
6 - Rally over for Viladoms...

Spain's Jordi Viladoms (KTM) fell off his bike at km 70 on today's stage and complained of thoracic pain. He was directly taken to the bivouac of Fiambala where, fortunately, the medical staff did not diagnose any severe injury. However, the Spanish competitor will remain under observation as a precaution.

12:05 - Bike
2 - Good move for Despres!

Four bikers have completed the super special so far. Frenchman Cyril Despres (KTM) had the best time with 3 hours 1 minute and 9 secondes, i.e. a 10 minute and 40 second lead over Portugal's Helder Rodrigues (Yamaha) and 12 minutes and 13 second over the former leader of the overall standings, France's David Casteu (Sherco). Thanks to this 21st stage victory, Despres now takes the lead of the overall standings, 10'03 ahead of Casteu.

11:55 - Bike
2 - 10 min for Despres at CP3

The first 4 bikes have reached CP3 (km 175) of today's special stage. France's Cyril Despres (KTM) now has a 10'02 lead over Portugal's Helder Rodrigues (Yamaha). The third provisional time goes to David Casteu (Sherco), 12'27 behind the leader.

11:50 - Car
301 - Peterhansel leads after 38 km

The first 6 cars have reached km 38 of today's special stage. France's Stephane Peterhansel (BMW) still has the best provisional time with a 9-second lead over Qatari driver Nasser Al-Attiyah (VW), who leads the overall standings, and 1'31 over Spain's Carlos Sainz (VW).

11:45 - Truck

Russia's Vladimir Chagin (Kamaz), double stage winner on the 2010 Dakar and leader of the overall standings started today's special stage at 11.31 as foreseen. He was followed 2 minutes later by his fellow citizen and teammate Firdaus Kabirov (Kamaz).

11:40 - Bike
2 - a greater gap in the lead

After the first 5 bikes reached the second CP (km 160) of today's special stage, Frenchman Cyril Despres (KTM) was still leading the stage with a 9'22-lead over Portuguese biker Helder Rodrigues (Yamaha) and 11'50 over the provisional leader of the overall standings, Frenchman David Casteu (Sherco). For his part, Spain's Marc Coma (KTM) stands 13 minutes behind Despres.

11:35 - Bike
9 - Lopez Contardo 2nd after 117 km

Although he started in 22nd position this morning, Francisco Lopez Contardo (Aprilia) is rapidly making up ground on this 3rd special stage. After coming through CP1 in 5th place, the Chilean boasts the 2nd best time after 117 km, 4'41 behind provisional leader Cyril Despres (KTM).

11:32 - Quad
255 - Halpern back in the lead at CP1

Now that the first 6 quads have made it through CP1 (74 km) on the day's special, Argentina's Sebastian Halpern (Yamaha) is in the lead, 3'21 ahead of Uruguayan Luis Henderson (Honda) and 6'48 ahead of general standings leader, Spaniard Juan Manuel Gonzalez Corominas (Yamaha)... He will have to be careful though: having started in last but one this morning, Polish rider Rafal Sonik (Yamaha) was only one second behind the leader at the 38 km marker.

11:22 - Bike
2 - Despres takes control again

Now that the first 6 bikes have completed 117 km of the day's special stage, Frenchman Cyril Despres (KTM) now leads again. He seems to have taken advantage of a mechanical problem suffered by his great rival Marc Coma (KTM) - who lost more than 5' at the 110 km mark -- to open up a big gap, with a lead of 5'01 over 2nd-placed David Casteu (Sherco) and 5'25 over Coma.

11:06 - Car

Second stage winner and new leader of the general standings, Qatari Nasser Al-Attiyah (VW) kicked off proceedings in the day's special at 10.52 as scheduled. He was followed two minutes later by Frenchman Guerlain Chicherit (BMW).

10:40 - Quad
270 - Henderson leads after 38 km

Having started the day's special in 6th place, Uruguayan Luis Henderson (Honda) has made the most of his position on the tracks to follow the traces of the first quads. As a result, he leads after 38 km, but only by 3" and 5" respectively over Argentina's Alejandro Patronelli (Yamaha) and Sebastian Halpern (Yamaha).

10:38 - Bike
1 - Coma leads at CP1

With the first 6 bikes through CP1 (after 74 km) on the day's special, Spaniard Marc Coma (KTM) is now in the lead, 27" ahead of Frenchman Cyril Despres (KTM) and 2'17 in front of the leader of the general standings at today's start, Frenchman David Casteu (Sherco).

09:50 - Bike
2 - The favourites are back in charge...

Now that the first 6 bikes have completed 38 km of the day's special, Frenchman Cyril Despres (KTM) leads, but only by a tiny second ahead of his eternal rival, Spaniard Marc Coma (KTM). In fact, this 3rd special stage may turn into a duel between the two riders, since the provisionally third placed rider, general standings leader David Casteu (Sherco), is already 1'17 behind the stage leader.

09:40 - Truck
502 - It's all over for Loprais!

Following mechanical problems during yesterday's special, Czech driver Alès Loprais (Tatra) has officially withdrawn this morning and is now heading back to Buenos Aires with his support team.

09:34 - Bike
8 - A reward for stubbornness and patience...

After suffering engine problems after 7 km of the 2nd special, Dutchman Frans Verhoeven (BMW) had to wait a long time for his assistance team before finally getting back to grips with the special after a halt of more than 8 hours!... As a result, after reaching the CP at 19.50, Verhoeven eventually finished the 2nd special at 20.47, arriving at the bivouac in La Rioja at 00.19. The Dutchman will therefore be starting the 3rd special today at 09.51...

09:15 - Bike

Hello and welcome everyone. On completion of the second stage, 353 crews - 148 bikes, 25 quads, 130 cars and 50 trucks -- made the cut-off... As regards today's race, Frenchman David Fretigne (Yamaha), yesterday's winner, was of course the first to tackle the day's special stage at 12.45 as scheduled. The native of Nice was then followed two minutes later by his countryman and leader of the general standings, David Casteu (Sherco).


441 km are on the menu of the third stage of the Dakar, which will see - for the first time in this 2010 edition - all categories of vehicles follow the exact same route. Once just won't hurt... the contenders will start with a 259 km liaison before entering the core of the race with a timed section of 182 km only, i.e. the shortest timed section in this year's edition but one that will provide contenders with a very technical trail and the first off-road sections with a chain of white sand dunes of about 30 km to cross towards the end of the stage. The contenders will also have to be mindful of the sandstorms that often blow in the region and might give the slowest ones a pretty tough time! One comforting thing though: the Fiambala bivouac is right at the finish of the special stage.

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