Dakar rac­ers caught up in street protests

Manila Times - - MOTOR SPORTS - AFP

LA PAZ: The Dakar Rally reached the lung­bust­ing al­ti­tude of La Paz on Fri­day and was quickly caught up in vi­o­lent street bat­tles be­ing fought be­tween pro­test­ers and po­lice in the tense Bo­li­vian cap­i­tal.

Around 100 demon­stra­tors since 2006 and hopes to stay there clashed with po­lice who used tear un­til 2025. gas and pep­per spray to quell the Empty wa­ter bot­tles and trou­ble which spread to a road bechairs were thrown in the di­rec­ing used by the com­peti­tors. tion of the main of­fi­cial Dakar

“We want hos­pi­tals, not the ve­hi­cle which led the com­petiDakar,” chanted pro­test­ers, aim­ing tors into La Paz. their frus­tra­tions at President Evo Mo­rales, who has been in power jeered by pro­test­ers who have also been vent­ing anger over the coun­try’s pe­nal code.

De­spite the trou­ble, Mo­rales wel­comed the ar­rival of the twoweek Dakar event, which stretches from Peru, into Bo­livia and ends in Ar­gentina, in his coun­try.

“We are proud to par­tic­i­pate in this event, which can in­te­grate us in the world, pro­mote sport and at­tract tourists,” he tweeted.

Hun­dreds of Bo­li­vians ap­peared to agree with Mo­rales as they cheered the rid­ers and driv­ers, shrug­ging off the vi­o­lence un­der the watch­ful eye of the armed forces.

In the event it­self, Spain’s Car­los Sainz, a two- time world rally cham­pion and 2010 win­ner at the Dakar, won the sixth stage, from Are­quipa in Peru to La Paz, ahead of 13- time cham­pion Stephane Peter­hansel, one of his Peu­geot team­mates.

Sainz, 55, clocked 2hr 53min 30sec for the 313km timed run of the gru­elling stage, 4min 06sec ahead of Peter­hansel who re­tains the over­all lead.

Sainz was also 5min 05sec in front of 2011 and 2015 Dakar cham­pion Nasser Al- At­tiyah in a Toy­ota.

“For sure, it was com­pletely dif­fer­ent,” said Peter­hansel af­ter a

“The tracks are eas­ier. It’s easy nav­i­ga­tion. The main prob­lem is al­ti­tude for the driver and for the en­gine. We lost a lot of power and we lost con­cen­tra­tion— you know, the brain also works in slow mo­tion, so it was a lit­tle bit com­pli­cated.

“But to­day for me it was like a tran­si­tion. We took no risks at all a good po­si­tion in La Paz”.

French rider An­toine Meo, on a KTM, claimed the mo­tor­cy­cle hon­ors.

Ar­gentina’s Kevin Be­na­vides, on a Honda, was sec­ond, 30 sec­onds be­hind, but went to the top of over­all stand­ings. Aus­tralia’s Toby Price was third on the stage.

Be­na­vides has a 1min 57sec lead over French Yamaha rider Adrien Van Bev­eren in the over­all stand­ings.

Fri­day is a rest day in La Paz.

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