The Uyuni Salar is some of the most spectacular scenery in the continent and is now a symbol of the hardness in Dakar Rally. The king stage in terms of distance served to define what this rally is all about, bringing with it important discards in the classification, such as Barreda’s mechanical troubles and the injuries of Faria and Jakes.
After the strong overnight storm and in the morning freezing cold, survivors faced a hard day in the office, guided by the applause of Bolivians, who showed their support for the race (including President Morales, who visited the bivouac).
The long stage, which included two refueling stops and even forced the riders to swap their road book halfway through, was a showing of strength and resilience by the team known as “The Red Army”, the HIMOINSA Racing Team, whose members played an important role .
Gerard Farres was visibly happy before the stage’s outset because he is starting to pick up the pace, and because he likes long and treacherous stages, where he performs to his full potential. He rode a strong stage, until he encountered Portuguese Faria who had crashed, deciding to stop and stay with him until the evacuation process was carried out. Farrés lost significant time, which was returned by the organization after analyzing the situation. “It’s hard to watch a colleague get hurt. I noticed that Ruben had hurt his wrist and I stayed with him until he was evacuated”, he commented.
Ivan Cervantes, fully recovered the crash suffered during the previous stage, and with a set up bike thanks to the overnight work of the HIMOINSA Racing Team mechanics, rose up to the challenge and landed a great stage: “It was a tough day, very long, very hot and with constantly changing terrain, but I’m very happy because I rode well and I’m still here, adapting to the Dakar. I did not come here searching results and I will take it stage by stage, so we are doing well so far; I can’t wait to rest on Sunday. ”
Antonio Gimeno completed his best stage in Uyuni, riding within the top thirty at all times, making use of his enormous determination and intelligence on the bike to avoid unnecessary problems.
Dani Oliveras and Rosa Romero stayed fresh consistent, although disfavoured by the altitude,because of a less capable bike, which is heavily affected by the thin air. Despite this, the king stage saw them put in a corageous effort, placing them many positions ahead of their former situation in the overall standings.