Dakar stage cancelled

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Organisers have been forced to cancel the eighth stage of the Paris-Dakar Rally after terrible weather conditions during the previous stage yesterday, Thursday January 6.

Several motorcyclists, cars and trucks are still trying to reach the bivouac at the end of the previous stage, and are relying on helicopters to bring them food and fuel. At the start of the second control point competitiors were only given 20 litres of fuel and many ran out of petrol in the middle of the desert.

Luckily for the KTM team all its riders made it to the end of the stage, although Fabrizio Meoni was not happy to learn of the cancellation.

"First officials cancelled the mass start and then I had to navigate myself to allow the others to follow my tracks. I rode very carefully to be easy on my equipment to allow me to attack the next day, but now they canceled today's stage!"

Team-mate Cyril Despres accepted the situation, as he felt the 130km stage would not have made much of a difference to his chances, and the safety of the competitiors would be at risk in the current conditions.

Tomorrow's stage should be a fast-paced 361km from Tidjika to Atar, but the weather situation isn't promising. A sandstrom currently rages around Tidjikja and it was impossible to land plances carrying assistance crews, managers and journalists.

As a result of the cancellation, Coma leads overall from Despres, Caldecott, Cox and Meoni with Fretigne in sixth. Mick Extance is top Brit in 73rd.

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MCN Staff

By MCN Staff