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Farrés, against the elements

· The torrential rains in the last days wreak havoc to the terrain and put Himoinsa at a disadvantage

January 10th, 2017 Uyuni (Bolivia) – Dakar 2017 was expected to be the toughest ever to be contested in South American territory, but adverse climatological conditions have taken hold of all the attention and are constantly conditioning the running of the race and its competitive outcome. After the cancellation of the sixth stage and the shortening of the seventh to barely half of its original length, what was to be the longest stage also had to be cut down significantly due to the overflow of a river. This meant that the eigth stage lost its more complicated part, clearly favouring the faster, more powerful machines, which profited from the fast tracks which waved farewell to Bolivia and re-entered Argentinian lands. Furthermore, a huge landslide caused the shutdown of the main road towards Salta, forcing the organization to improvise an alternative bivouac, an incident which puts at risk the celebration of stage 9, which was said to be the toughest of the race.

Gerard Farrés confessed to be unhappy after seeing two of the most important stages dumbed down, not only boycotting his assault on the podium, but also causing him to lose his position to Austrian rider Walkner. “I came out willing to give it my all, but in these World Rally Car tracks the factory bikes are pulling away. During the neutralization I managed to correct some electronical issues to try to improve the performance, but in this kind of terrain there is a significant difference”, assured Farrés after finishing the special. The Manresan finished tenth in the stage, and on a positive note, he managed to pull back some time on Van Beveren, while he lost time with three of his other rivals. Farrés’ aspirations towards the podium in Buenos Aires are still intact, but the Himoinsa Racing Team leader is conscious that he needs complex and navigation based stages in which he can rely on his experience and know-how to make up for his mechanical disadvantage.

The rest of the Himoinsa Racing Team riders covered the stage without any setbacks and, in the case of Oliveras and Gimeno, even gained back some positions in the overall classification. As this article is being written, the team’s assistance truck is stuck in a huge traffic jam caused by a major landslide which has blocked the road. It is still uncertain where the new bivouac will be installed, or how and when the assistances will meet back with their riders. The task at hand surely will not be easy for the organization, and the night promises to be a busy one.The rain has caused an upsetting in Dakar 2017 and have taken away a lot of its character.

STAGE

10th Farrés 9:42 behind

22nd Cervantes 20:18 behind

26th Oliveras 24:56 behind

27th Gimeno 27:38 behind

OVERALL

5th Farrés 34:24 behind

21st Cervantes 2:31:55 behind

22ndOliveras 2:33:50 behind

25th Gimeno 3:13:08 behind