Extreme weather in the north of Bolivia has forced the cancellation of today’s 6th Dakar stage from Oruro to the Bolivian capital of La Paz.
Many of the competitors found it difficult to get to the overnight bivouac in Oruro, and reports are saying some were still stranded on the course.
Scouts sent by the organisers to check today’s stage reported the terrain is steadily deteriorating and impractical for competition.
Exactly what the organisers will do now is yet to be confirmed.
Meanwhile, KTM factory rider Matthias Walkner has been critical of the changes to the navigation for this year’s event, saying it had gone beyond a fair challenge.
Walkner won the 4th stage on Thursday from Jujuy to Tupiza and opened the road for Friday’s run to Oruro, but dropped half an hour to teammate and new overall leader Sam Sunderland.
Most of the time he lost was through navigation – the Austrian was among many to lose precious minutes looking for the right path.
“It is strange. Sure, it can be hard and tricky, the navigation – but there has to be enough information,” Walkner said.
His comments have been echoed by other leading competitors.
Four times entrant Christophe Barriere-Varju explained the changes in our latest podcast, saying they were designed to bring the Dakar back closer to its original form.
In recent years navigation had been too simple and the race was becoming more about who could cover the distance faster.
You can also watch the movie Dream Racer, or buy the DVD/Blue Ray, at dreamracer.tv.
The multi-award winning movie tracks Christophe’s progress through the event and is the purest footage you’ll ever see of the Dakar.
It’s also one of the most inspiring films of all time.