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Dakar Stage 12 Canceled Due To Heavy Rain

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Dakar organizers made the decision to cancel the first half of Stage 12 on the night of January 17, due to safely concerns. The predicted heavy fog in the early morning, when the bikes start, was a concern, preventing the race-control helicopter to secure the safety of the stage, and heavy rain had caused the rivers to swell making the crossing dangerous for the bikes.

Due to this decision the bikes set out from Fiambala to the new start line of the latter half of the original Special Stage set in Chilecito. Plans, however, were further modified causing confusion. According to the new plan, the bikes were to start off an hour after the trucks, which would mean they would have to ride on disturbed terrain, and when they catch up with the trucks, they would have to take the risk of overtaking in clouds of dust the trucks made.

Some riders protested to this plan, and the organization decided to cancel the whole stage. The riders, confused and tired on the latter day of the Marathon, moved on to the bivouac in San Juan with their assistance crews.

With Stage 12 canceled the overall standing remains as it was, with Kevin Benavides in an overall 2nd, 32 minutes behind the leader, with Ricky Brabec 6th and Jose Ignacio Cornejo 9th. The Monster Energy Honda Team riders will prepare to make the best of the 13th stage scheduled tomorrow.

The end of the 2018 Dakar is in sight, reaching the last destination Cordoba tomorrow after the longest 907km stretch.

Kevin Benavides #47, Overall: 2nd
"Obviously I'm a little disappointed because I wanted to race. The organization wanted the motorcycles to come out behind the trucks and cars and we said that we thought it would be very dangerous. We asked if they would let us start earlier, but they found the easiest solution: cancel the stage. I did not think it was the right decision, but of course, it is what it is. We will try to push hard in the two remaining days before the finish."
Ricky Brabec #20, Overall: 6th
"Today's stage was canceled and, quite honestly, I don’t know why. We have ridden 700 kilometers by road and it was really boring and tiring. Now, after this stage that we weren’t able to run, we have only two days left and I hope that I get a good ride out of these final kilometers and will be able to make something out of it all."
Taichi Honda | Monster Energy Honda Team Rally Large Project Leader
"The team has arrived in the bivouac of San Juan. It is very hot here at 38 degrees celsius or more. Stage 12 scheduled today was canceled, and adding the other 2 stages that were canceled plus the stages that were re-routed, this year’s Dakar was shortened by a total of over 1000km of timed section. This is a pity and is hard on us because we need every opportunity to catch up on the leaderboard. However, there are 2 more stages left yet, and the riders and all the team staff are motivated to do their job the best they can to fight back strong at any chance we have to secure the overall victory. Thank you for supporting the Monster Energy Honda Team."
Event information

San Juan / Cordoba
Liaison: 483 km  Special: 424 km

In this stage, car drivers will enjoy the dunes of San Juan at the start of their day, but will also have to cross an area of fesh-fesh, which will put their nerves to the test. Those familiar with the tracks of the Argentinian round of the WRC will then find the terrain to their taste, but there is still more to be lost than gained at this point. Throughout the history of the Dakar, many a competitor has been known to let the title slip through their fingers the day before the finish.