UYUNI, Bolivia The South Racing Ford Ranger crew of Marco Bulacia and Claudio Bustos resumed their challenge for honours at the 2017 Dakar Rally on a revised 161km special stage between La Paz and Uyuni in Bolivia on Monday.
Despite adverse weather conditions in the region over several days, race officials managed to find a makeshift stage that offered its very own perils and Bulacia - who started the day 19th on the road – continued his Dakar challenge to record a time of 2hr 23min 33sec and maintain 22nd in the overall standings.
Persistent heavy rain on the Bolivian Altiplano and the deterioration of the original route forced race officials to completely modify the sixth and seventh stages from La Paz to Uyuni and on to Salta. A new road book was also drafted during the rest day and a shortened sandier special stage of 161km was arranged for the 64 surviving cars, split by a pair of liaison sections of 400km out of rain-soaked La Paz and 240km into the Marathon bivouac in Uyuni.
The intended stage would have run for 322km, but the revised one featured a lot of sand, dunes and tricky navigation at the start and muddy conditions and large water splashes towards the finish.
Bulacia’s latest generation South Racing Ford Ranger was prepared by Neil Woolridge Motorsport (NWM) with collaboration from South Racing. Bulacia has additional backing from YPFB, Vialco, Hard Rock Santa Cruz, BOA and Ende for his second Dakar with South Racing.
Tomorrow (Tuesday), the route has also been modified because of recent weather conditions and teams will tackle a shortened special stage and the second half of the Marathon passage from La Paz to Salta in Argentina via Uyuni. The intended stage would have been a punishing 492km in a total route of 892km. Final details would be given to crews at the evening’s bivouac in Uyuni.