The first stage of the 38th Dakar has been cancelled due to extreme weather on the course. The deluge that fell in the early hours left the course unrecognisable. Several ríos formed on the special, flooding the track and rendering it impassable. To make matters worse, aircraft were unable to take off due to extremely thick low clouds, leaving race director Étienne Lavigne with only one realistic option.
The competitors headed to Villa Carlos Paz under link section rules after the decision was announced. A route has been selected on which motorcycles and quads move in a convoy, while cars are allowed to travel on their own. The trucks had not departed the Rosario bivouac yet, so they are heading to today’s finish on the course for assistance vehicles. It goes without saying that there were no changes in the classification and the start of stage 2 tomorrow will be based on the places at the end of yesterday’s prologue. Joan Barreda’s Honda will be the first motorcycle and Bernhard ten Brinke’s Toyota the first car. In the latter category, the 46 competitors who were unable to start the prologue’s timed section due to the accident of competitor 360 will be assigned notional times by race officials.
Tomorrow’s stage from Villa Carlos Paz to Termas de Río Hondo is tricky to say the least. An initial link section 70 km long will take the competitors to the start of the second special, the longest of the 2016 edition. With 510 km’s worth of easy but fast tracks on the menu for the cars and trucks and 450 km for the motorcycles and quads, the first gaps could open up between the favourites in each category. The end of the special lies about 250 km from Termas de Río Hondo.
Fin qui il comunicato di oggi o, sarebbe meglio dire, quanto pubblicato sul sito “normale”, quello per il pubblico. Ma la volete sapere una cosa? Nell’area media il comunicato più recente è quello del 23 dicembre 2015 (lasciamo perdere le foto che è meglio…) e oggi da nessuna parte si legge qualcosa di ufficiale sull’incidente di ieri nel prologo, quando la pilotessa cinese Guo Meiling ha perso il controllo della sua Mini Cooper al km 6,6 degli 11 previsti investendo una decina di spettatori, due dei quali, papà e figlio, in gravi condizioni. Ma per gli organizzatori va tutto bene. Meglio parlare solo della pioggia di oggi…