January 13, 2014
After 522km driving to the border and across, todays stage was the first in Chile of the 2014 Dakar. The special, 302km of terrain, all of it avove 2.000m, and climbing to over 3.400 during the stage, hurts the big engines in the cars which simply cannot get enough air to mix with their fuel. However, the bikes had it harder with a route through Bolivia today that never dropped below 3.600 metres.
Today was two specials. One for the cars with a liaison in Argentina followed by their special in Chile. The motorcycles had spent last night in Bolivia and spent the morning racing around a masssive salt lake in Bolivia before a liaison in Chile to meet up with the cars at the end of their special.
Starting from 29th this morning, Baldwin quickly set about overhauling the cars ahead, having resolved the electrical problems experienced on yesterdays stage. However it was heavy going and by the halfway point, he was in 23rd having overtaken 6 cars in the stage timings. He then pulled out the stops to climb up the rankings and by the 5th waypoint he was 16th and by the 6th, he had climed to 14th. He held on to 14th until the end of the special, finishing 18 minutes 49 seconds behind Al-Attiyah who won today’s special. Currently he sits in 32nd place in the general standings but this may change as other teams finish the stage.
Robby Gordon has struggled all day and at the 7th waypoint, he sits in 69th place, 1 hour and 14 minutes back from the winning time.