Bad weather and heavy thundershowers over the entire Bolivian Altiplano region forced the Dakar organisers to cancel the sixth stage from Oruro to La Paz. The rains lasting more than 12 hours washed away the tracks and swelled up rivers in the mountainous region of Bolivia. The 527-km stage was the longest stage of the rally this year.
The drivers and riders arrived in the Bolivian capital in groups to a rapturous welcome by thousands of Bolivians who gathered in the city centre. On a day when the Dakar cavalcade arrived in La Paz all activity seemed to come to a halt as residents lined up the streets to cheer the participants as they rode or drove through the town to the bivouac.
The rally will take a break for a day in La Paz before commencing the second week that will take the participants back to Argentina. The 2017 Dakar will finish in Buenos Aires on January 14.
When the rally resumes on January 9, the seventh stage will take the riders from La Paz to Uyuni as first part of the marathon stage comprising a total distance of 622 km, out of which 322 km will make up the timed special section. Being a marathon stage, only the participants will be allowed in the Uyuni bivouac, while the assistance crews will head to Salta. No outside help will be allowed to the riders at the end of the seventh stage. It means, they would need to conserve their bikes for the second part of the marathon stage from Uyuni to Salta before they once again have access to assistance crews.