Dakar 2014 Stage 9, Calama - Iquique 451 km in total, 422 km special stage
The ninth stage of the recent Rally Dakar took the field to the most northern point of the race. The riders went down from yesterday´s plateau through the Atacama desert towards the Pacific Ocean. Sand and dunes challenged the athletes especially in the final third of the stage, demanding excellent navigation skills. In between the organisers had placed fast sections with dangerous diagonal grooves and creek beds. The day offered everything that classifies a true raid rally, ending with the spectacular downhill part to the coastal town of Iquique.
The Speedbrain customer race team stuck to its strategy and took no chances. Jeremias Israel Esquerre nevertheless was on the gas and highly motivated on his first day in his native Chile. He occupied third in the day´s provisional standings until 50 kilometres from the finish, before producing a crash and damaging his navigation equipment. Not surprisingly, the 32-year-old made a subsequent navigation error that costed him 15 minutes. But because his French rival Alain Duclos had major mechanical problems, Israel Esquerre still improved one spot to fourth overall. He´s getting closer to the podium with four days to go.
"Chavo" Salvatierra enjoyed a solid day in 15th. He also made up one position overall. Paolo Ceci and Pedro Oliveira kept out of trouble and lie inside the top thirty. Obviously the Speedbrain squad is in splendid spirits, fully within the expectations and receiving plenty of applause from the competition for their strong showing.
Jeremias Israel Esquerre: "I´m a bit annoyed over what happened. It went very good, almost too good until the crash. You have to pace yourself not to get too excited. Luckily my mistake didn´t prove too costly and I could continue, even making up a bit of ground again towards the end."
Wednesday brings the longest special stage of the Dakar 2014. The riders have to tackle 631 km against the clock on their way to Antofagasta. Together with the following stage on Thursday to El Salvador the decisive moments of the race are approaching.
Dakar 2014, Stage 8:
1. Marc Coma (ESP, KTM) 04:49:05 hrs
2. Joan Barreda (ESP, Honda) +00:01:41
3. Cyril Despres (FRA, Yamaha) +00:05:28
4. Juan Pedrero Garcia (ESP, Sherco) +00:08:43
5. Stefan Svitko (SVK, KTM) +00:09:42
6. Jordi Viladoms (ESP, KTM) +00:11:23
7. Helder Rodrigues (PRT, Honda) +00:11:44
8. Ivan Jakes (SVK, KTM) +00:13:40
9. Laia Sanz (ESP, Honda) +00:14:34
10. Jeremias Israel Esquerre (CHL, Speedbrain) +00:15:01
15. Juan Carlos Salvatierra (BOL, Speedbrain) +00:33:17
19. Paolo Ceci (ITA, Speedbrain) +00:40:54
37. Pedro Oliveira (PRT, Speedbrain) +01:06:43
Provisional overall standings:
1. Marc Coma (ESP, KTM) 36:55:24 hrs
2. Joan Barreda (ESP, Honda) +00:40:19
3. Jordi Viladoms (ESP, KTM) +01:38:45
4. Jeremias Israel Esquerre (CHL, Speedbrain) +02:07:06
5. Olivier Pain (FRA, Yamaha) +02:16:10
6. Helder Rodrigues (PRT, Honda) +02:24:25
7. Jakub Przygonski (POL, KTM) +02:25:16
8. Cyril Despres (FRA, Yamaha) +02:29:56
9. Daniel Gouet (CHL, Honda) +02:57:42
10. David Casteu (FRA, KTM) +03:23:06
15. Juan Carlos Salvatierra (BOL, Speedbrain) +04:52:16
22. Paolo Ceci (ITA, Speedbrain) +07:21:14
24. Pedro Oliveira (PRT, Speedbrain) +07:44:56
Photographer: RallyZone Â©2014 speedbrain GmbH, all rights reserved.