Due to the bad weather continuing over the Andes Cordillera (rain and snow), the Chilean authorities were forced to close, for the night, the border at Paso de San Francisco, situated at 4700m.
For the 7th time, the Dakar is about to cross over the Andes, and because of very unfavourable conditions, added to the fact that the course has been hit by rain and snow, in order to guarantee the security of the competitors and those following the rally, the organisers have decided to organise a convoy for all vehicles tomorrow. The itinerary has been changed after the border (follow the main road on the right which goes to Diego de Almagro).
The weather in chilecito is still on the wet side, due to this the 153km special stage had been shortened. Today in all there has been an improvement in performance in the team. Alister Mcrae has steppend on the gas and managed to get in a meritory 25th place, Tim Coronel got in at 50th and Chris leyds did a 58th place.
The stage has not been the normal desert Dakar stage, on the contrary it has been a very wet one, constantly crossing rivers has made everyone very wet, but fortunatelly it has not given any mechanical problems. All cars have arrived at the bivouac.
Although a rookie in the Dakar, stefanie Manns is dooing very well against her more experience team coleagues, She got in in 68th place, followed by Chris leyds in 89th, Alister Mcrae in 101st and Tim Coronel in 102nd.
The third stage began with a liason of 293 kilometers, and a timed soecial stage of 208 km on the program. The test consisted of high mountains, cliffs and valleys, and ended with the infamous fesj fesj. Tim started today as 89th and actually flew through the first part of the trial. The McRae Buggy held its 56th and Coronel came along as the first waypoint. During the remainder of the stage was a shock for Coronel when he thought to have a problem with the clutch or belt and to have, but it turned out to be a problrm with a minor item but was fixed very rapidly.
The last part of the stage went smoothly. Driving through the fesj fesj, a sort of clayey sand with a soft sponge feel, yielded no problems. Coronel after 208 km was at the finish in 58th place. Tim was pleased with today’s stage and looked back at the camp on a beautiful day:
“It was dusty, but a very good test today. The piece through the mountains and valleys, was beautifukk I will not forget the experience. The buggy did well today, I lost 15 minutes because I thought the clutch or a belt had broken. It all proved to be a simple thing and I could regain my pace again. The fesj fesj was a bit anoying, but that did not spoil the fun.
Tim Coronel is today with his Maxxis McRae buggy begining to catch up during the second stage from Santa Rosa to San Rafael. Coronel yesterday was delayed more than three hours because his clutch had broken down, today he wikedly gained some positions. Tim started as a temporary 147th and came up to 90th over the line despite some problems with the temperature of his engine.
Chris leyds had an incredible day with his McRae Enduro after yesterdays troubles. Today he managed to get on the line in position 50th.