News 4 Jan 2011

Despres takes over at Dakar, Smith sits in 21st overall

KTM's Cyril Despres leads the Dakar Rally after stage two this morning.

KTM's Cyril Despres leads the Dakar Rally after stage two this morning.

Frenchman Cyril Despres boasts a lead of 2:35 over Marc Coma after winning the second stage of the 2011 Dakar Rally.

Already delighted with the performance of Ruben Faria during the afternoon, Despres learned yesterday evening that in fact he had picked up victory on stage one, after a one minute penalty was handed out to his KTM teammate for breaking the speed limit.

As a result, the title holder tackled the second day of the race as leader, with the responsibility of opening the road.

Even the day’s task was not the most demanding in terms of navigation, Despres succeeded in achieving the hardest trick in rally-raid racing: staying out in front from start to finish, as well as opening up the gap a little on his closest rivals.

On completion of the 300km special, the Frenchman boasted the best time, winning the 25th stage in his career on the Dakar. It is only the third time that he has triumphed when opening the road.

Whilst it is premature to make predictions, a traditional duel is starting to be outlined with Coma, who finished 1:49 behind on the stage, trailing 2:35 in the general standings. Faria, in third place, is already 6:13 behind.

Furthermore, the day held revelations about the capacity of David Casteu. The Sherco rider, after a discrete first stage, was the quickest pursuer of the KTM bikes on the route to Tucuman.

Trailing the leading duo by 3:46, he climbed up to sixth position in the general standings, but remains behind Francisco “Chaleco” Lopez and Paulo Gonçalves.

The battle between Aprilia, BMW and Sherco is underway and might not just be a battle for the crumbs left by KTM.

However, Pal-Anders Ullevalseter, runner-up last year, will have difficulty getting involved, in light of the trouble he is having adapting to his new machine: “I miss my 690cc,” joked the Norwegian – 29th in the general standings after only two stages.

Australia’s Jacob Smith was 20th today to slot into 21st overall, while Warren Strange now sits 54th. Simon Pavey is 60th overall and Mark Davidson now 126th.

2011 Dakar Rally
Stage Two Results

1. Cyril Despres, Andorra, KTM
2. Marc Coma, Spain, KTM
3. David Casteu, France, Sherco
4. Francisco Lopez, Chile, Aprilia
5. Ruben Faria, Portugal, KTM
20. Jacob Smith, Australia, Honda
40. Warren Strange, Australia, Honda
70. Simon Pavey, Australia, BMW
139. Mark Davidson, Australia, Honda

Overall Standings
1. Cyril Despres, Andorra, KTM
2. Marc Coma, Spain, KTM
3. Ruben Faria, Portugal, KTM
4. Francisco Lopez, Chile, Aprilia
5. Paolo Goncalves, Portugal BMW
21. Jacob Smith, Australia, Honda
54. Warren Strange, Australia, Honda
60. Simon Pavey, Australia, BMW
126. Mark Davidson, Australia, Honda