HIMOINSA Team reaches Antofagasta, and finishes the 5th stage without its support truck
We witnessed a mammoth effort from Miguel Puertas, Rosa Romero and Antonio Gimeno who had to seek help from other teams, including Team Fernández and in particular the Pedrega team, which provided them with tents, a place to sleep and the necessary spare parts. The breakdown of the support truck, which has not yet been able to return to the race, conditioned preparations for the 5th stage. They will have to get help from the Dakar camp again tonight.
In The Dakar everything counts. In the first stage we saw how the current leader in the car category, Nani Roma, said farewell to a new victory after just three kilometres along the special section and how mechanical problems forced Carlos Sainz to withdraw. In The Dakar everyone and everything count.
Bad luck hit HIMOINSA Team during the fourth stage when its support truck broke down. The truck carries everything the drivers need, including the mechanics, to tune-up the bikes after each day’s stage. A failure in the injectors left HIMOINSA Team without its truck. At the end of this long stage the Spanish drivers had to form alliances and seek help from the other teams competing in The Dakar 2015. As we saw on the Fernández Team’s social media sites (this team features a father and son from Lorca), they welcomed our motards into their Dakar family, although above all the logistical support came from the Pedrega Team in the shape of tents, essential spare parts and a place to sleep The truck is expected to rejoin the team in Iquique for the rest day just before setting off on the marathon stage.
With less rest than expected and the added complication of not having its support team available, our motards set off from Copiapó in the morning with the imposing dunes forming the backdrop. The special section looming not long after the first link sections was in everyone’s minds. As we saw yesterday, keeping the bikes working was going to be fundamental due to the lack of support once the drivers arrived at the Antofagasta camp. One of the few special sections for all categories is the 458km-long stretch over earth and stones, climbing to 3,000m at the end before dropping down to the camp at the end of stage.
Our motards continue to climb in the general classification, with Miguel Puertas already in place. while Rosa and Antonio have climbed several places to 92nd and 93rd in the overall standings respectively. Today, and despite having no assistance from the support truck, the riders again dealt perfectly with the conditions they faced. If they get through tonight and again receive assistance from one of the teams, they will reach the rest day in a much stronger position, with the HIMOINSA Team expected to be at full strength again. “No spare parts, nowhere to sleep, no clothing, not even flip-flops. Here we’re working with what we’ve been left. First we need to think about being able to set off tomorrow and then about ourselves,” declared Antonio Gimeno to colleagues from Teledeporte
In the fight for the trophy, Marc Coma enjoyed his first partial triumph and has gained just over two minutes in the general classification, closing in on the unrivalled Joan Barreda who continues to lead the pack. Unfortunately, charismatic Bolivian rider “Chavo” Salvatierra was forced to retire from this eventful rally.
Stage 6. Antofagasta / Iquique (Link: 369 km / Special: 319 km)
The route once again heads up the Pacific coast and on towards Iquique. In the special section the bikes and quads will have to cover extra kilometres: they will have to go off-road and climb peaks affording ocean views. Afterwards they will cross the dune-like massif which runs along and dominates the coastline. But the descent to camp will follow a different route. For the first time ever in The Dakar, this halfway stage will feature a podium installed in the centre of Iquique where the drivers will be given a rapturous welcome, particularly after the earthquake which hit the region at the beginning of 2014.