Liaison: 158 km – Special: 279 km – Liaison: 85 km – Total: 522 km.
The Rally is heading to Natal and now, only a couple of days from the arrival, it stops in the small town of Crateús, named after an Indian tribe which has disappeared. The competitors were glad to find a pool at the Crateús camp, and also a breeze bringing some relief to the intense heat.
In the bikes, Cyril Despres (KTM), despite of a problem with his rear tyre foam, has won the Special and he is now only 4 minutes far from Zé Hélio (Honda) overall. “I couldn’t help it”, said the Brazilian driver who arrived in the third plac e, “the last 140 kilometers were too fast and I had the disadvantage of my small 450.”. Marc Coma (KTM) finished in second: “It was like in Senegal,” he said, “with lots of sand and animals everywhere. I`ve attacked since the beginning but, after the refueling, it was very fast and I remained after the dust from Zé Hélio, who was riding at 130km/h”.
David Casteu (KTM) arrived in the fourth place, after hitting a pig and leaving the race track – fortunately it was not serious. Ruben Faria, the fifth place, has rolled with his Honda 450 and finished ahead of Viladoms, who has played safety regarding the tyre “I thought that the others were going to attack and burn their tyre foam, so I did not force it, but they were lucky once the last kilometers were sandy. otherwise, I would be better classified!”
In the overall, Zé Hélio is still ahead with 1`56 of advantage over Despres, 27’52 over Casteu and 57`08 over Coma. Chaleco Lopez returned to his home in Santiago, in order to be supported by doctors in Chile. He`s doing well and there was no serious injury to his eye.
In the cars, the first competitors to leave, Mark Miller and Ralf Pitchford (Volskwagen), have followed a bad bike trace and found themselves in a blind alley, which caused the loss of 3`. Giniel Villiers and Dirk von Zitzewitz (Volskwagen) made good use of that mistake and took the race lead. “It was a bit complicated for the navigation at the beginning”, confirmed the German navigator, “and it was easy to make mistakes. So, after the error, Mark and Ralf could not do much more than f ollow our dust.”
A nice Special for Kritsztof Holowczyc and Jean-Marc Fortin (Nissan Overdrive), who had finished in the second position: “We have passed de Azevedo after 40km”, said Jean-Marc, “and this time, warned by the FIA on the eve, he let us pass over. Then, we were following the dust from Miller who has served as a hare, with 1`30 ahead of us.”. Bad luck for Carlo de Gavardo, who drove very well and is the fifth placed overall: he has broken the transfer box only 30km far from the arrival and the return to the road.