News 16 Jan 2010

Rally: Ullevalseter wins first ever Dakar stage in the 13th

Norwegian rider Pal-Anders Ullevalseter has won the Santa Rosa stage 13 of the 2010 Dakar Rally, his first Dakar stage victory of his career as he took over second place in the general standings.

Finishing second had previously been the story of his life for Ullevalseter, one of the pillars of the rally raid and has been so for many years. A collector of honorable second or third places, often the foil or the arbiter of famous Despres/Coma duels, the Norwegian has finished second eight times in Dakar stages, finally winning a stage on his eighth attempt at Dakar.

In this penultimate Dakar stage in the 2010 edition, Ullevalseter started by crossing the first 50km of sand dunes before pushing his KTM bike to the max on ultra-fast tracks that were the bulk of today’s route. In the end, he beat Cyril Despres for the first time in a stage by 43”. The event could be a trigger for more.

To get out of hiding, Ullevalseter waited till he was in an immediate challenge situation. Pushed back in the standings yesterday by Francisco “Chaleco” Lopez, he had to hit hard to get back to second place in the standings.

Along the way, he passed the Chilean rider who finished the day’s stage 5’35’’ behind the day’s winner. This is more than enough for Pal to keep his second position up to Buenos Aires.

Despres as solid leader in the raid only has 666km to ride before getting his third Dakar title with only 202km as a special stage. This distance seems way to short for anyone including second place Ullevalseter to compensate the 1h04’12’’ lead Despres now has in the standings.