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Mudslide wipes out Dakar ninth stage

Second stage to be wiped out in a week after Saturday’s sixth stage also called off

Image Credit: AFP
Mohammad Abu Eisa of Qatar and his co-driver Xavier Panseri of France in their Mini during Stage 8. Yesterday’s ninth stage from Salta to Chilecito was cancelled due to a mudslide.
Gulf News

Salta: Wednesday’s ninth stage of the rain-swamped Dakar Rally from Salta to Chilecito in Argentina has been cancelled following a huge mudslide, race organisers announced on Tuesday.

Torrential rain has wreaked havoc on this year’s competition and left competitors stranded on the roads used during Tuesday’s stage.

“(Wednesday) will be dedicated to regrouping all the race’s resources in Chilecito so that the event can continue by starting the 10th stage, Chilecito-San Juan” on Thursday, organisers said in a statement.

It is the second stage to be wiped out in five days after Saturday’s sixth stage was also forced to be abandoned.

Spain’s Joan Barreda won his second Dakar Rally 2017 stage on Tuesday in the moto category. The Honda rider thundered across the 417km eighth stage from Uyuni in Bolivia to Salta in Argentina in 4hr 28min 21sec, ahead of the KTM duo of Matthias Walkner of Austria (3min 51sec behind) and Britain’s Sam Sunderland, who was three seconds behind his teammate to retain the overall lead by 20 minutes.

Barreda was also victorious in last Wednesday’s third stage of a scheduled total of 12, but lost the overall lead of the motorcycle category after picking up an hour penalty for illegal refuelling in a subsequent stage.

Tuesday’s special took two hours longer than expected because of the heavy rain that lashed the course.