It was a troublesome stage for TEAM HRC in Copiapo, where Helder Rodrigues finished fourth and Javier Pizzolito tenth, on a day which Joan Barreda’s chances of taking a podium place in Valparaiso ended.

The penultimate day of the Rally Dakar was played out first over rocky terrain before reaching a 150 km stretch of dunas outside Copiapó. Towering dunes in which one had to pay strict attention to the navigation.

Portuguese rider Hélder Rodrigues rode into Copiapó aboard his Honda CRF450 RALLY in fourth place. ‘Estrelinha’ now lies in fifth overall place just ten minutes away from a final place on the podium. Rodrigues will battle it out every inch of the way before the race winds up in Valparaíso tomorrow.

Javier Pizzolito put in a good performance in the stage, with a tenth final place some 12’49” off the eventual winner.

Joan Barreda, after marking a strong rhythm in the first part of the race, arrived at the refuelling in second place. He crashes in the kilometre 264 of the special in the area of sand dunes around Copiapo. He was forced to repair the damage and, subsequently, was unable to continue at full-speed. The Spanish rider fought on to stay in the race and finish the special. Now, he moves to the seventh place in the overall.

Once again the commendable effort of the female member of Honda Argentina Rally Team, Laia Sanz, should be pointed out, finishing the penultimate stage in twelfth place, and thus scaling various positions on the overall leader-board. The Catalan rider is now in 14th. Pablo Gonzalez finished the day in 24th position.

Helder Rodrigues – 4th – +07’21
I rode a good stage and I felt comfortable. I saw Joan after his fall and asked him if he needed any help. He told me that it wasn’t necessary, so I carried on. It was a real shame that we was unable to carry on with the bike damaged, and needed the help of another rider to finish the special.

Classification Stage 12
1    Cyril Despres    03:58’18    FRA    YAMAHA    Yamaha Racing
2    Marc Coma    +2’17    ESP    KTM    KTM Red Bull Rally Factory
3    Olivier Pain    +5’53    FRA    YAMAHA    Yamaha Racing
4    Helder Rodrigues    +7’21    POR    HONDA    TEAM HRC
5    Jordi Viladoms    +9’10    ESP    KTM    KTM Red Bull Rally Factory
6    Daniel Gouet    +9’52    CHI    HONDA    Tamarugal Honda Racing XC Rally Team
7    Kuba Przygonski    +10’45    POL    KTM    KTM Rally Factory
8    David Casteu    +11’03    FRA    KTM    Team Casteu
9    Ivan Jakes    +12’04    SLO    KTM    Nad Ress Adventure
10    Javier Pizzolito    +12’49    ARG    HONDA    TEAM HRC

General standings after Stage 12
1    Marc Coma    52:40’16    ESP    KTM    KTM Red Bull Rally Factory
2    Jordi Viladoms    +01:59’49    ESP    KTM    KTM Red Bull Rally Factory
3    Olivier Pain    +02:10’16    FRA    YAMAHA    Yamaha Racing
4    Cyril Despres    +02:14’01    FRA    YAMAHA    Yamaha Racing
5    Helder Rodrigues    +02:20’39    POR    HONDA    TEAM HRC
6    Kuba Przygonski    +02:37’23    POL    KTM    KTM Rally Factory
7    Joan Barreda    +03:04’54    ESP    HONDA    TEAM HRC
8    Daniel Gouet    +03:17’10    CHI    HONDA    Tamarugal Honda Racing XC Rally Team
9    Stefan Svitko    +03:52’45    SLO    KTM    Oraving Slovnaft Team
10    David Casteu    +04:01’42    FRA    KTM    Team Casteu

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