Rain and snow in the Andes have forced organizers to cancel Friday's stage of the Dakar Rally. Yet more unpleasant news involved Russian Kamaz driver Eduard Nikolaev, who has been disqualified for breaking race regulations.
Thursday’s shortened stage in Argentina belonged to Poland's Krzysztof Holowczyc who was fastest in the dunes to claim his maiden stage victory, moving him into second overall behind defending champion Stephane Peterhansel.
The Frenchman was third fastest, behind American Robby Gordon.
While another Frenchman, Cyril Despres, dominated the motorbikes category. He is now nine minutes ahead of defending champion Marc Coma in the overall standings.
Dutchman Gerard De Rooy leads the way in the trucks division where Russian up-and-comer Eduard Nikolaev has been disqualified for unsportsmanlike conduct.
The incident took place during the fourth day of the rally when Nikolaev’s Kamaz collided with the SUV of José Luis and Marc Di Palma. The Argentineans admitted they were at fault shortly after the end of the stage, but the Russian side were accused of “rendering insufficient assistance” and suspended till the end of this year’s event. Nikolayev's truck was the fastest in the team in 2012.
The 2012 Dakar Rally has been tough for the Russian team, who have grown accustomed to success in recent years. Team Kamaz now have three remaining trucks in the race and will hope to turn things around on the path to Peru.