The 10th day of Dakar Rally was held on January 12 at the Stage 9’s sand hill route, which organizers would often refer to as ‘a stage that changes the game.’ On January 13, however, the marathon stage, a stage that lasts for two consecutive days under the restriction to seek assistance from their respective teams until they arrive at the bivouac, will take place.
For this stage, Team HRC’s Paulo Goncalves aimed to be 1st from his current 2nd place in the overall ranking. The time difference between him and Toby Price (KTM), who led the ranking, was 02:05. To change the results, he resolutely looked forward to the two-day marathon stage.
Goncalves managed to ride at his own pace during the marathon stage. Furthermore, to increase their time difference, Price kept up with a higher pace. It seemed that their very tight battle since the opening of the stage would go on, but it ended, unexpectedly.
After almost two hours since this stage started, Goncalves directly hit on the plant right before he arrives in Checkpoint 2. It caused a huge damage to its radiator, its coolant leaked, and its engine experienced a big trouble.
Many participants experienced difficulty in this complex stage; thus, the organizers concluded that it is then difficult to continue the race under the high temperature. They decided to cancel the latter half part of the race, beginning Checkpoint 2. Hereafter, Goncalves was aided by his teammates and was taken back to the bivouac intended for the marathon day. Despite under the restriction of getting assistance, the machine got repaired; nevertheless, he is looking forward to the possibility of being able to continue in the rally.
(Translated by Claire Marie Sausora)