- Stage 9
- Calama > Iquique
- Connection 37 km
- Special stage 422 km
- Total 459 km
After yesterday’s win Cyril Despres opened the piste this morning aboard his Yamaha YZF 450 Rally and despite the difficult navigation finished third on the day to move up a place to 8th overall.
The Frenchman is now less than 23 minutes from the fourth placed rider Israel and just over 51 minutes off the podium. Michael Metge lost time with navigation and crossed the line in 18th place to maintain his 14th position overall.
“I’m very relieved to have made it all the way to the end. At the refuelling at kilometre 201 I noticed I had a fuel leak from the one of the rear tanks, and that petrol was dripping on to the exhaust pipe! I tried to drain as much of the fuel out of there into the other tanks as possible and then set off hoping for the best. As I crossed the line the bike started to cut out from lack of petrol! I also had a pretty big crash in the fesh fesh around kilometre 250. A pity, because up until the refuelling I was concentrating hard on the navigation and making good progress. Overall I made up some more ground today on those just in front of me and as before will keep attacking to see what can be achieved before the final finish line.”
“I reckon a lot of riders behind the top 3 are mainly following the tracks in front of them and for sure you ‘waste’ less time that way. However one of the advantages of being a support rider is that you don’t have so much pressure regarding your individual result. So instead of following everybody else I try and do my own navigation. Today it caused me to get lost twice but it is the only way to learn and I am sure the experience I have the luxury of gaining now will pay off in the future.”