Visitors to San Juan de Marcona are usually looking for the best plan to discover the Nazca Lines. Stage 7 of the Dakar was completely different, with an assortment of difficulties to fray the nerves of all types of competitors. The fast men were in their element in the fast off-road sectors of the first 100 kilometres, only to suffer in the fesh-fesh and on the rough tracks on a plateau halfway through the stage. For the next 50 kilometers, the focus switched to the dune surfers, with the Duna Grande and Duna Argentina sectors, later to transition to faster stretches near the end of the stage… all while dodging the navigational pitfalls in the vicinity of San Juan.

Every day brings something different in the SxS class. “Chaleco” López took the spoils today, beating new overall leader Reinaldo Varela by a whopping 22 minutes.

Gerard Farrés and Sergey Karyakin, sitting first and second overall in the S×S category this morning, had had an impeccable race so far. It all came to an end when stage 7 devolved into a nightmare for both drivers, especially Karyakin, who did a barrel roll and smashed up the running gear of his BRP buggy near the start of the special. Although the Spaniard and the Russian did not throw in the towel, they plummeted down the classification and can no longer be considered contenders for overall victory. The Dakar can be a bitter experience sometimes, but Farrés and Karyakin will undoubtedly be pretenders to the crown in the future…

Story & Photos courtesy of



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