HIMOINSA Team successfully crosses the Andes and enters Chile.
HIMOINSA Team is still in the competition following the 4th stage of the Dakar. The riders had to drive at altitudes of close 5,000m before reaching the camp in Copiapó, Chile. Miguel Puertas finished in 85th place, 1h 25m 26secs behind stage winner Joan Barreda, while Rosa Romero and Antonio Gimeno achieved times of 2h 01m 06secs and 2h 01m 37secs to complete the stage in 96th and 97th place respectively. The support truck had a faulty injector at the start of the day and this issue had not been resolved at the time this press release was sent. The British rider Sam Sunderland, one of the overall race favourites, has had to withdraw after fracturing his shoulder in a fall.
The Dakar Rally temporarily left Argentine soil to enter Chile via the impressive San Francisco pass, with the riders crossing the Andes at an altitude of 4,748m and tackling an initial liaison section of 594km. The day got off to a bad start when a problem was detected with one of our support truck’s injectors. This meant everything had to come to a standstill until a mechanic arrived. At the time this press release was sent we had not received confirmation that the team could set off again and an alternative solution was being sought to restore support to the riders as soon as possible.
The fourth stage began with a 200-km special section which tested riders’ ability to deal with muddy and stony terrain and the altitude declined considerably. Next they faced a daunting 115 km of sand and the first dunes, with the realisation hitting home that anyone wishing to complete this Dakar Rally would have to be in supreme physical, technical and mental shape. Miguel Puertas was once again the fastest of our riders, passing all control points at regular intervals, and ended the stage in 85th position, almost one and a half hours behind the Castellon-born Joan Barreda, who notched up another stage win. Thanks to his performance, the Granada native climbs to 81st position in the overall standings.
As the photos once again show, Rosa Romero and Antonio Gimeno survived another gruelling stage of more than 900 kilometres on their bikes consisting of a special section and a liaison section, drawing strength from one another. In a race from which contestants are withdrawing daily, the Catalan rider is proving that all the hard work she has put in this season to be part of the HIMOINSA Team project has been worthwhile, greatly increasing the prospect of the wife of Nani Roma successfully completing further stages. In her best Dakar Rally performance, Romero withdrew after the fifth stage, and she has the chance to match this showing tomorrow in the fifth round of the competition’s 37th edition. Rosa and Antonio are already in the top 100 in the overall classification in 95th and 96th place respectively.
Joan Barreda again claimed victory in today’s stage, which also saw the British rider Sam Sunderland forced to retire with a fractured shoulder.
The real challenge starts now and our riders will have to draw on their many years of experience to deal with tonight’s challenges without our support to the camp. We hope that Miguel Puertas, a Fair Play Raider rider always prepared to help colleagues who are at risk, will assist in this task. Looking for basic support and a place to sleep will be vital if tomorrow’s stage is to be successfully negotiated.
Stage 5. Copiapó – Antofagasta (Liaison: 239 km / Special: 458 km)
This is the first of the rare special stages in which all categories will compete. At the start of the race, the most confident drivers will be able to take advantage of the fast tracks to try to move up in the overall standings. But the temptation to do so may be risky, particularly in the hard-to-handle fesh-fesh areas where absolute self-control is the only guarantee of success. Overtaking here requires exceptional precision handling.