For the second year in a row, hazardous weather conditions meant a premature end to Day 12 at Dakar 2013.
Severe rainfall in La Rioja, Argentina, resulted in Stage 11 being cut short for the trucks and cars.
Unfortunately, not everyone was happy with the reduced stage as it was bad news for Giniel De Villiers and Dirk Von Zitzewitz. The Toyota duo had put themselves in a strong position by creating a healthy lead, before it was cruelly cut short.
The South African commented: “The decision to take the times at CP1 does not go in our favour but that’s how it is so we’ll have to try again. Everything is feeling really good with the car, I’m happy with how I’m driving and Dirk is finding us the right way to go. Today we had the chance to cut about 15 minutes off the gap between us and race leader Stephane (Peterhansel) and that would have increased the pressure on him.”
But it wasn’t just the cars that were stopped in their tracks…
The trucks were also ruled to have their stage cut short and this also had a negative impact on the overall leaderboard. Team Kamaz had made good progress at the front of the race, before their times were scrapped.
Eduard Nikolaev, one of the truck drivers, said he was disappointed that the race organisers deemed it too dangerous.
He commented: “I’m sad that another stage at this Dakar has been cancelled because I come to race. Also at this Dakar the stages are very short so to lose another stage makes the distance we race even smaller. It seems that every year the race gets shorter and shorter and that is not something we are pleased about.”
However, it was plain sailing for the KTM Factory Team…
Over on the bike race there were no problems and Redbull’s KTM Factory Team steamed ahead of the stage.
Kurt Caselli’s Dakar debut went from strength to strength, as he recorded his second stage win on the route between La Rioja and Fiambala.
He said: “Today is another stage win for the team and that’s always good. Things are looking better for us now than they were in the first week of the race. The start of the race was a little dodgy for us but things are starting to smooth out and we’re all feeling better.”
Nevertheless, not only did Caselli secure his second win but he also helped his teammates. The end result meant that Despres increased his lead, at the top of the overall race rankings.