Torrot's GasGas Rally Team riders have successfully overcome one of the stages most feared by the participants of the Dakar Rally: the Super Fiambalá. An eleventh stage of 485 kilometres, 280 of them timed, which forms the first part of the marathon stage between Belén and San Juan, the second of the rally for motorcycles. As has been usual in other editions, the day had an unconventional start, in which the 10 best-timed motorcycles, cars and trucks of yesterday in the dunes of Fiambalá alternated their starting order.
Johnny Aubert, who finished tenth yesterday, made the most of his advanced starting position and achieved his best stage result in this Dakar Rally. The French rider finished seventh in a day of navigation on sand in extremely high temperatures and has climbed to seventh place in the general standings with just four days to go before Córdoba. His teammates Jonathan Barragan and Cristian España finished today in 21st and 22nd positions respectively. The Spanish rider is in sixteenth position of the general classification, as the second best newcomer; while the Andorran rider climbs to the thirty-third place in the general classification and has already recovered 24 positions since he fell to position 56 after being sanctioned for not marking waypoints in the first two days.
The racers in the bike and quad categories will not have the help of their mechanics tonight and won't be meeting again until tomorrow in San Juan at the end of the twelfth stage.
"We finished this first day of the marathon stage well, without our riders suffering major problems. The mechanics have worked very hard and very well so that the bikes can face these difficult days regarding navigation, which is even more complicated with the sand - very soft - and also by this marathon stage.
So we can only have words of praise for our riders. Johnny [Aubert] has done really well today, as did Jonathan Barragán. Cristian had a small fall and broke the navigation switch-gear. They rode the stage really well again. Tomorrow we expect another complicated day but we are well placed in the race and I am very happy with the work of the whole team."
"It has been a difficult stage and my riding was regular. I suffered a fall at kilometre 10 and I was suffering with pain throughout the day. I tried to keep up the pace and concentrate on not making mistakes, but 10 kilometres from the finish line I fell again. Tomorrow the second part of the marathon stage awaits us and it will also be very complicated, but we will give everything we've got from here to the end".
"It was a very hard stage, with very soft sand. When I was 50 kilometres away, I had a problem with the roadbook and I followed another driver until the end. We managed to achieve a good speed together and, finally, it was a good stage. I am very happy with my riding and with my fellow teammates. The GasGas Rally Team has done a fantastic job so far and I am very happy to be in the team. I hope to continue like this until the end and tomorrow we will see what happens."
"Yesterday we were exhausted by the time we finished, but today we left with enthusiasm because we are already beginning to have the end of the race in sight. We cannot drop our guard and we have to keep working. Today's stage was very tough with a very complicated first part. It was soft sand, with many car and truck ruts and the ground was destroyed. At kilometre 240 I had a problem with the roadbook and I followed a rider. We are happy, the bike is just fine and we are too. Tomorrow we will be back recovering positions."