While the rally is about to leave Bolivia to come back to Argentina, the provisional results are mixed for the teams supported technically by Motul during this Dakar that's as difficult as expected. Or even more difficult … In Moto, all four Monster Energy Honda Team musketeers were penalised by one hour but refuse to be discouraged. Their performances show they are right! The five RZR 1000s of Xtreme Plus Polaris Factory Team are the only survivors of SSV class. Brazilian, Leandro Torres, is the undisputed leader of that class.
Among the main obstacles encountered by the contenders, mention can be made of the terrain, some navigation subtleties, extreme altitudes, temperatures over 40° in Argentina and disastrous weather in Bolivia. Heavy rainfall hastened the cancellation of stage 6 Oruro-La Paz. The following stage, start of the marathon stage, also had to be shortened.
Two Honda riders would be fighting for the win had they not been penalised for having refuelled outside the scheduled zone. 'We must continue battling it out,' repeated Paulo Gonçalves, who ranked best in the evening of Monday 9 January in 8th place. Joan Barreda and Ricky Brabec respectively won the third and seventh stage but lost more than half an hour by going astray in the fifth.
Several privateer contenders are doing better than just getting by on two or four wheels, such as Franco Caimi (Honda South America Rally Team), 2nd of the rookies, or Christian Lavieille 1st of his class on a Toyota.
Provisional standings after Leg 7 - Moto
01 Sunderland (KTM)
02 Quintanilla (Husqvarna) +17’45’’
03 Van Beveren (Yamaha) +22’16
08 Gonçalves (Honda) +1h05’22’’
09 Barreda (Honda) +1h14’47’’