After the day's rest yesterday, Torrot's GasGas Rally Team riders left La Paz behind to face the seventh stage of the Dakar, with a sinuous 425-kilometer special, this time on dirt roads and complicated in the final part by the rain and mud. Jonathan Barragán made the third fastest time among the newcomers of this Dakar, finishing eleventh and becoming the best rookie in the general classification.
Johnny Aubert got the fifteenth best time today and is ranked twelfth in the general classification, very close to the 'top ten'. For his part, Cristian España continues with his own recovery, weighted down by three penalty hours. The Andorran driver finished in thirty-seventh position and currently occupies the 44th place in the provisional classification of the 2018 Dakar.
Today, the riders had to carry out the maintenance and repair of their bikes themselves on arrival at Uyuni. The race is holding the first of the two scheduled marathon stages. The GasGas Rally Team riders will be reunited with their team, tomorrow in Tupiza after overcoming the longest special of this Dakar, of 498 kilometres.
"After the day of rest, today we faced the first marathon stage, which is one of the most difficult of the Dakar, not so much because of the route but also because of the lack of assistance from the technicians. The riders have to go through the special and the liaison today without the technicians of the GasGas Rally Team being able to help them and they will arrive at the bivouac, where they will not be able to count on their mechanics to perform the maintenance and repair tasks. Riders are the only ones who will be able to work on their bikes today and tomorrow they will have to face a new journey with another liaison and another special. So there are two complicated days, because the riders must take care of both the bike and their physical health and everything they will be using, such as an air filter, they should take with them during the stage.
Everything went well on this first day of the marathon and our riders have continued to improve in the overall classification, and even Jonathan is in first place amongst the newcomers in the classification in this competition. Now they must work to face another quite long stage tomorrow."
"Today went well. We went at a good pace in this first part of the marathon. I am happy with my eleventh position and for being the best rookie so far. It was a fast stage despite the mud, with many kilometres and in which we had to control the wear of the rear wheel. When arriving at the bivouac, as it is a marathon stage, we had to check the bike ourselves. They are ready for tomorrow."
"The first part of this marathon stage has gone well. Today it was very cold and it rained during the day, but it has been a good day in general. I had very good feelings on the bike, I only had a couple of problems with the GPS but I am very happy with how the stage went and I hope to continue on this good line in the coming days."
"Today we completed quite a long stage. It has been hard because of the altitude and because we found a lot of camel grass, very complicated and with sand. I started with a good pace but at kilometre 80 the temperature of my bike went up and so I did not ride so fast. I couldn’t get as much traction as usual and that complicated getting through the sand. Later, the bike got trapped in the mud and there I lost more than half an hour until I managed to get it out with help. But the most important thing is that we have managed to finish today. Now it's time to service the bike and keep recovering positions in the second part of the marathon. "