A brisk early morning and a long liaison started today’s stage. Competitors had to complete a 177km liaison before the 477km all sand special. Casey had been looking forward to today, when he could finally get into the dunes where he excels. The stage heads from Ha’il to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia’s capitol that holds over 5 million people.
“The change of scenery is dramatic. This time, the special stage is 100% sand, entirely off-road. After a relatively fast first section, obstacle experts will have the advantage in the dunes. Drivers having previously honed their skills in the Sahara desert will certainly have the upper hand. Then it will be time to rest.” – Dakar
Terrain breakdown for stage 6
- 73% Sand
- 19% Dunes
- 8% Soil
Today was the first stage that racers would meet a consistent amount of dunes and at the beginning Casey was flourishing. Him and Francisco Lopez Contrado would run matching paces through the first 6 checkpoints. Meanwhile Sergei Kariakin and Austin Jones would run into problems and lose a handful of time to the two front runners. Around the 300km mark of the stage Casey would lose a belt though. Sean and Casey got to work and were back moving after about 7 minutes, minimizing the damage as best as possible. They would keep a consistent pace and then make one final push in the last 50 kilometers to stay within 10 minutes of the overall lead.
“Stage 6 is done, we’re still sitting 2nd overall and now 9 minutes out of the overall lead. We had a great day, pushed hard and Sean did a killer job and it was just sand all day. I lost one belt and I think it cost us about 7 minutes when we were probably 2 minutes down on Francisco Lopez. That’s where our 9 minutes came from. You live and learn, I’m going to make some adjustments to the clutch to make sure it’s good to go for the remaining 6 days. Lots of sand today and lots of fast, fast sections.” – Casey
We now go into a much needed rest day for the competitors who have already completed 29+ Hours of racing and travelled over 3700 kilometers or 2300 miles. They’ve completed 5 Baja 500 races and still have a week of racing to go. For now though, it’s time to reset and recharge and get themselves set for the second half.
Stage 6 SSV results
- Gerard Farres 5h 27m 25s
- Francisco Lopez Contardo +01m 22s
- Reinaldo Varela +04m 59s
- Cyril Despres +08m 11s
- Conrad Rautenbach +10m 24s
- Casey Currie +11m 47s
SSV overall results after stage 6
- Francisco Lopez Contardo 28h 52m 26s
- Casey Currie +09m 48s
- Sergei Kariakin +30m 24s
- Jose Hinojo Lopez +36m 31s
- Mitch Guthrie +47m 49s
Story and photos curtesy of CaseyCurrie.com