Yesterday the organization of the Dakar was forced to cancel the ninth special scheduled for today due to adverse weather conditions and the risk of flooding, so Torrot's GasGas Rally Team riders travelled the 525 kilometre link between Tupiza and Salta by road.
After the cancellation of today's stage, Johnny Aubert faces the last five key stages of the Dakar in tenth position. His teammate, Jonathan Barragán, climbed four positions after the organization gave him back the almost eight minutes that he spent yesterday looking after an injured rider. The Spanish rider is thirteenth and is again the best rookie in the general classification. Further back, weighed down by the penalties of the first week, Cristian España ranks 43rd.
Tomorrow the competition will resume with the tenth stage between Salta and Belén, with 797 kilometres in total, 373 of these timed. It will be the first part of the second marathon stage of the 2018 Dakar. The two days, again without assistance for motorcycle riders, will cover the route between Salta and Fiambalá.
"We have reached the final stretch of the Dakar without any problems with the three bikes and with the three riders in top form, without having suffered major falls. Johnny [Aubert] and Jonathan [Barragán] are in a good position and the penalties suffered by Cristian [España] are a shame. We have a fantastic atmosphere in the team. The riders are like three mates racing together.
This year's Dakar is really tough. The sand in Peru caused a lot of riders to drop out. The contrast between the heat of the early stages and the cold of Bolivia has been hard. Now we have arrived in Argentina and we can expect complicated stages with sand, tracks with fesh-fesh and very high temperatures. Without a doubt it is a Dakar like the ones before, we must be on our guard the whole time. We will keep up our concentration until the end."