Following a timing mistake Ruben Faria of Portugal was relegated to third on Day 6, giving the official win to Helder Rodrigues.
Update: After further review KTM’s Ruben Faria was relegated to third place in the Stage 6 results. Faria was released 4 minutes early at the fuel stop instead of 9:47 as previously announced. The correction puts Faria 3:10 behind the official stage winner, Helder Rodrigues.
During the sixth leg of the 2011 Dakar Rally Portugal’s Helder Rodrigues (Yamaha) snagged the victory after a timing mistake was made during Ruben Faria’s fuel stop. Marshals allowed Faria to leave more than nine minutes early from his stop, and the resulting correction put Rodrigues at the top of the charts for the day while Faria moved back to seventh trailing the leader by 08:57. Despite the correction Faria moved up to fifth in the overall standings. KTM’s Cyril Despres, who finished the sixth stage nearly three minutes off the pace of Rodrigues, remains second in the overall rally while trailing rally leader, Marc Coma, by just under nine minutes.
On Friday competitors were met with a trek through the Atacama Desert which included numerous dune sections. The 456 km special on the way to Arica was marked by difficult navigation and rough terrain. Despres and Coma fought it out for third with the rally leader ending four and a half minutes behind his rival. Faria would ultimately have his second victory of the rally stripped away following an official review of the sixth stage.
Meanwhile Americans Jonah Street and Quinn Cody finished 12th and 13th respectively for the day. Remaining more than 57 minutes adrift of Coma, Street still hangs onto seventh in the overall rankings while Cody remains outside the top-10 in 12th place.
After ending the day in third Despres chiseled his rival’s advantage down by 08:48. Aprilia’s Francisco Lopez Contardo took fifth in the most recent stage and is more than 22 minutes behind Coma.
The BMW Motorrad by speedbrain team of Paulo Gonvalves and Ze Helio encountered great difficulty on the sixth day. Ze Helio crashed shortly after 50 km and suffered a broken collarbone while Gonvalves, winner of Stage 5, had mechanical issues with his BMW for most of the day.
With results from six stages down on paper riders will now be given a day to rest before hitting the second half of the 2011 Dakar Rally. The seventh stage of the rally will resume Sunday January, 9th.
Ruben Faria (PRT – KTM) 1st, 5th OA
“It was a very tough stage, very long and bumpy. I started at my own pace, so until the refueling stop I probably lost some time. After that I accelerated. 200 km from the finish, I overtook Despres, Coma, Rodrigues and Chaleco. I stayed with them, so I think I should have won. As Cyril’s water carrier, I always ride sensibly, but there are times when I can take advantage of the situation. I started 7th this morning and that helped me. I think Cyril will be happy for me.”
Helder Rodrigues (PRT – Yamaha) 2nd, 4th OA
“It was a superb special for me. I set off behind Despres and Coma, but I caught up with them before overtaking them. I opened the way for 200 kilometres. Overall, it was a very good day. I’m in 4th place. It’s perfect.”
Marc Coma still leads the 2011 Dakar Rally by nearly nine minutes as competitors head into a rest day.
Cyril Despres (FRA – KTM) 3rd, 2nd OA
“It was a very difficult stage for me. I’ve had vibrations in the engine for 220 km so the rest day will do the machine and rider a world of good. I don’t know what caused it. After the refuelling point, the bike started to vibrate and I didn’t know whether to stop or not, in case the engine was going to blow. I slowed down a bit and in the end I finished at the same time as the others. Honestly, it’s a miracle that I finished. The only positive thing is that I’m here, but it was squeaky-bum time for 200 km and that’s not reassuring.”
Marc Coma (ESP – KTM) 4th, 1st OA
“It was a very hard stage, at the start with the dunes, then with all the navigation, because it was very technical until around the 200 km point. It was a very restrictive stage and was hard to open the way. It was like I was stood still and was still in the same place since there was so much ‘fesh-fesh’. It was a really hard stage.”
Francesco Lopez Contardo (CHL – Aprilia) 6th, 3rd OA
“The last part of the special for 150 kilometres was very hard, very dusty. There was also lots of ‘fesh-fesh’. But I really liked it, especially in the dunes. Marc Coma caught up with me as well as two groups of bikers as well. We rode carefully. It is going to be complicated for a lot of riders and there will be a big cull before the rest day.”
2011 Dakar Rally Stage 6 Results:
1. Helder Rodrigues, PRT (Yamaha) 05:36:17
2. Cyril Despres, FRA (KTM) 05:39:21
3. Marc Coma, ESP (KTM) 05:40:47
4. Stefan Svitko, SVK (KTM) 05:43:34
5. Francisco Lopez Contardo, CHL (Aprilia) 05:44:27
6. Ivan Jakes, SVK (Yamaha) 05:44:59
7. Ruben Faria, PRT (KTM) 05:45:14
8. Jordi Viladoms, ESP (Yamaha) 05:45:54
9. Pal Anders Ullevalseter, NOR (KTM) 05:48:52
10. Frans Verhoeven, BEL (BMW) 05:52:42
2011 Dakar Rally Overall Standings:
1. Marc Coma, ESP (KTM) 22:40:20
2. Cyril Despres, FRA (KTM) 22:49:08
3. Francisco Lopez Contardo, CHL (Aprilia) 23:02:32
4. Helder Rodrigues, PRT (Yamaha) 23:07:55
5. Ruben Faria, PRT (KTM) 23:14:14
6. Jordi Viladoms, ESP (Yamaha) 23:29:50
7. Jonah Street, USA (Yamaha) 23:37:56
8. Frans Verhoeven, BEL (BMW) 23:42:10
9. Juan Pedrero Garcia, ESP (KTM) 23:42:33
10. Stefan Svitko, SVK (KTM) 23:49:40
Video courtesy of Dakar.com.