With the weather conditions preventing the installation of the bivouac at Al Duwadimi in complete operating conditions for the entire caravan, stages 7 and 8 have been rearranged in marathon mode in order to propose an equivalent sporting programme that is relevant for the competitors. Based on the initial route, the specials for stages 7 and 8 have been exchanged, with shortened distances making it possible to have a manageable road section on each of the days.
Faced with the weather problems experienced again today and the level of tiredness observed among all the riders in the category, the Dakar organisers have decided to cancel the special for stage seven between Riyadh and Al Duwadimi.
The internecine duel between the two Spanish crews who share the same colours of the Moma Raid Team and the same Toyota HDJ 80 vehicle continued today. Juan Morera and Lidia Ruba, 106th last year in their Panda, occupied the lead in the general rankings this morning and had done so for the last four stages, a dominant position which Carlos Santaolalla and Aran Sol Ijuanda have been trying to contest since the start. Having finished 6th on the last edition, the Catalans have been 2nd in the general rankings for as long as their friends have been out in front. Today, the two men reduced this gap. This third edition of the Classic seems to be set to be one for the European regularity specialists. The Spanish school has authoritatively taken the lead in the first third of the race, with only the Belgians and the Italians, the two other nations with a passion for off-road regularity, seeming able to challenge this supremacy.