At just 170km, the ninth stage of the Dakar was more like a sprint than a desert rally but with big dunes to tackle the terrain still asked penty of questions.
In the quad class, the Patronelli brothers had the answers and finished second and third, this time with younger brother Marcos behind Alejandro. Their overall lead now looks unassailable with a third placed Gonzalez Corominas fully four hours behind Alejandro in third outright.
Stage nine featured a spectacular side-by-side start for the best 10 finishers the day before. They were then followed by the rest of the riders in waves of 20. In the MC class, Marc Coma took control by leading the pack over the 170-km route almost entirely made up of the dunes around Copiapo. In the dunes, the Catalan tried to leave the other race favourites in his wake… but in vain. At CP1 (at the 117-km point), it was the general standings leader Cyril Despres who put in the best time, with a lead of only 4 seconds over Coma and 20’ seconds over Pal-Anders Ullevalseter, now the nearest rival to the French race leader.
Yamaha riders Frétigné, Rodrigues and Pain finihsed the stage in fifth, seventh and eighth place respectively.