Today’s sixth stage of the 2017 Dakar Rally has been cancelled by organisers, after the extreme weather which affected yesterday’s stage grew worse overnight and saw today’s 800km stage hit by heavy rain and flooding.
Speaking in an official statement, they admitted that the conditions simply didn't proive enough safety to run today's stage.
“Considering the extreme climatic conditions and that some drivers are still on the stage course, considering that it is impossible to bring the vehicles of all participants back to the bivouac and prepare the next stage in the best conditions, considering that people of the organisation in charge of the reco of the stage course informed that the road is impracticable, the sixth stage ORURO-LA PAZ has been cancelled.”
Yesterday’s stage left many racers complaining afterwards of the difficulty of the stage, with stage winner and overall race leader Sam Sunderland shivering his way through his media debrief after his victory.
“It was a tough day. Even though the second half was cancelled, we still had 300km in the rain and the cold, and I’ll be happy to get cleaned up and have a rest. The first part was already pretty gnarly, with your goggles filling up with water and making it hard to judge distances or making it easy to miss a lot of stones in the water.
“You have to slow down and ride to what you can see when it’s like that, and try not to take any risks. We were riding along a slippery piste at the edge of a ravine, and it was heavy going!”
The racers will get a welcome break now, however, with the cancelled stage coinciding with tomorrow’s rest day, giving an unexpected two days off – something that will be even more welcomed by the malle moto unsupported racers, where Brit Lyndon Poskitt currently lies third in the class.