Team BMW Motorrad by speedbrain thought they had experienced enough bad luck so far during the Dakar 2011. But stage eight from Antofagasta to Copiapo made things only worse.
The big problem of the day: Parts of the route were highly dangerous. Hidden stones in the sections they call "Fesch Fesch" made riding safely through a lottery. Paulo Goncalves, who gained ground yesterday following his electrical problems on Friday, was going well after the start. The Portuguese led the ranking at kilometer 50 before hitting such a hidden stone. When he tried to pick himself up, he recognised a heavy pain in his shoulder. Diagnosis: broken collarbone. The race is over for him.
And another blow was happening right next. Frans Verhoeven had entered the stage behind his teammate. The Dutchman crashed nearly at the same time just a few kilometers down the road. Verhoeven remained ok, but he did hit a stone quite hard, resulting in a hole to his engine case. Pedro Bianchi Prata, third rider in the team, stopped and helped. He lost valuable time as well. Following the intensive repair, Verhoeven lies four and a half hours back in the stage classification. Bianchi Prata is two hours back. Outcome to be determined...
Team principal Wolfgang Fischer: "We really thought we had experienced enough bad luck by now. First we´re losing David Fretigne, who can´t even compete after his crash at a test race. Then his replacement Ze Helio goes down and breaks the collarbone. Next it´s mechanical problems twice, and now Paulo is out of the rally.
There´s nothing you can do, that´s racing. All we can try is to make the best of the situation and attempt to keep Frans and Pedro in the race in the best possible way.
2011 Dakar, Stage 8
1. Coma (ESP), KTM 2. Depres (FRA), KTM, 01:55 Minuten Rückstand 3. Lopez Contardo, (CHL), Aprilia, 04:21 4. Rodrigues (PRT), Yamaha, 08:38 Minuten Rückstand 5. Ullevalseter (NOR), KTM, 25:03
63. Bianchi Prata (PRT), BMW Motorrad by speedbrain, 2:41:30