Francisco López makes history after winning first round of Dakar Rally

On the first day the rally crossed onto Chilean soil, the Curicó native lucked out with the shortest stretch.

09 de Enero de 2009 | 15:33 | El Mercurio Online

SANTIAGO.- Francisco Lopez has kept his word. The Chilean driver had promised to cause uproar upon hitting Chilean soil before even beginning the Dakar rally.

And today, Friday January 9th, just as the caravan is arriving in Valparaíso, the Curicó native has triumphed in the seventh round of the race, a route that was was made shorter by the organization due to problems experienced by drivers yesterday on the Nihuil dunes. The final length of the route was only 238 chronometric kilometers.

López won the seventh stretch of the race after surpassing Spanish driver Marc Coma, who arrived 3 minutes and 57 seconds behind him. The Chilean driver took a total of 2 hours 39 minutes and 9 seconds to complete the section. French national Cyril Despres took third place, coming in 5 minutes and 21 seconds behind the Chilean.

Today López had begun in fourth place after ending the day yesterday in the same position. Nevertheless, the Chilean national was reported to be in second place at the 91st kilometer of the stretch and, after 138 kilometers, López managed to pass Coma and take the lead.

With the triumph, Chile's native representative in the Dakar Rally should appear for the first time among the race's top ten participants.

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