Yamaha – As day five of the 2013 Dakar Rally draws to a close it does so with the YZ450F based Yamahas of Frenchmen David Casteu and Olivier Pain having raced ahead to again set the pace in the special stage. The 274km trek from Arequipa and Arica became Team Casteu Yamaha Racing France rider Casteu’s third Dakar stage victory. Yamaha Racing France’s Pain was just one minute behind him to make it a Yamaha one-two. The results keep Pain at the top of the overall standings with Casteu just one minute behind him, and then a further six minutes to the next rider.
Frans Verhoeven made up valuable ground from yesterday’s frustrating result following a technical issue. The Dutch Yamaha Netherlands Verhoeven Team rider wrapping up the stage in 15th to move four places up the overall standings.
“The stage I won in 2010 seems a long time ago,” said David Casteu. “I’ve always said to myself that winning a special stage is fabulous. What’s more, winning at the start of the rally when all the riders are still in it, it’s really great. At the end of the Dakar, it can be argued that other riders relax and manage their position. When you win like that with all these riders who’ve got the bit between their teeth, it’s good. Also, it was on a 136-km long special stage, so today it was like a long sprint. I’m really happy about it. I’ve really got the feel of my bike now and I’m really enjoying it. It’s a bike on which I feel good, on which I gobble up the obstacles and behind the handlebars of which I’m relaxed and calm. I arrived on this Dakar having taken stock, with the aim of enjoying each moment, each second. I’m 38 years old and I’m going to take every day as it comes. I’m itching to ride flat out and today I had great fun”.
“This morning, I didn’t know how it was going to work out,” said Olivier Pain. “I wasn’t stressed out, but I wanted to avoid making a mistake so that people wouldn’t say, ‘he got caught out because he got too big for his boots’. I set off in a good state of mind. I was especially concentrating on not falling. I made a small navigation error right at the beginning, but I put it right straight away. I didn’t see Joan (Barreda) stopped next to the track. I don’t know if he had problems or if he made a mistake. I had to open the road for three-quarters of the day. David started to catch up with me a bit in the middle, but I put some distance in between us near the end. It was a good special stage, very dangerous at the beginning with a bit of navigation before a big rocky area. The end was more twisting in a canyon with nice tracks and some fesh-fesh. It was a nice stage to ride and I’m still leader. That makes it two days running now”.
Speedbrain Husky – Alessandro Botturi fourth in fifth stage of Dakar
The Dakar moved into Chile’s Arica desert for the fifth stage with a slow and cumbersome 411 km (257 miles) with 136 of special test. It almost seemed like an enduro race. In fact, it was enduro rider Alessandro Botturi who showed his true colours bringing the Husqvarna Rallye Team by Speedbrain a well-earned fourth place. After Barreda’s two stage wins and Goncalves’ second place, Botturi rode his Husqvarna TE449RR into fourth place for the second time . In doing so he moves up two places in the overall standings, Now the Italian rider is in 7th place overall.
Husqvarna’s “special customer” Jordi Viladoms on a TE449RR by Speedbrain, put in his usual consistent performance, coming in sevententh today and fifth overall, moving up to lead the Husqvarna riders. The ‘fesh-fesh’ and large rocks made life difficult for Goncalves in the special, where he strived not to make mistakes and finished in fourteenth place.
Likewise, Barreda had an unlucky day picking up a fifteen minute penalty as for an engine change. The engine was substituted in the night as a precaution when a faulty bearing was found. Barreda came in a long way behind in today’s special stage due to problems with the gas pump helped by water-carrier Fish.
Tomorrow sees the caravan roll on to Argentina with an extremely long 764 km stage (477 miles) with 454 km of special test.
Alessandro Botturi :”I set out to win today, but it turned out to be more tricky than I’d imagined. I was unable to attack in the way I’d have liked because of the lack of visibility and the fesh-fesh, but it was a good stage for me.”
Paulo Goncalves :”I was really careful today. It was a very dangerous stage with a very hazardous terrain. It would have been easy to fall, so I tried not to make any mistakes and get through the stage.”
Jordi Viladoms: ”I’m really pleased with my Husqvarna. I’m really getting on well with it. Today was a very hazardous stage and I tried to keep a steady pace. I’m very satisfy with my fifth overall place so far.”
From KTM – Red Bull KTM’s multiple Dakar winner Cyril Despres of France consolidated his position in third place in the overall standings after Stage five of the Dakar Rally that saw competitors say farewell to Peru and cross the border into Chile.
Despres was fifth in the stage on the KTM 450 Rally bike, trailing the stage leader David Casteu by just four minutes 07. He now has to concentrate on gaining back the six minute 07 deficit he has with overall leader Olivier Pain.
Fastest KTM factory rider on Wednesday was Joan Pedrero of Spain who finished in third place after the total 411 km ride over a mix of rocky ground, hard pack and just 10 km of sand that made up the 136 km of timed special. It was a strong ride by the Spaniard and a distinct improvement on his previous day when he finished twenty third in the stage. For teammate Ruben Faria, his thirteenth place finish was enough to keep him in contention and after Wednesday’s ride the Portuguese factory rider and who is Despres’ ‘Water Carrier’ or support rider is currently in fourth overall.
American Kurt Caselli, who is riding in place of the injured Marc Coma continues to deliver a strong performance and managed to hang on to his very creditable twentieth place overall position. Also consistent are the three riders making up the KTM factory B Team: ‘Kuba’ Przygonski of Poland and the two South Africans Riaan Van Niekerk and Darryl Curtis.
Thursday’s sixth stage from Arica to Calama is a punishing ride of 767 km with a liaison section of 313 km and 454 km of timed special during which they will brush the Pacific coastline on their way south. As organizers promised before the race, there will be very little let up of pace in the first half of the more than 8000 km ride to the finish in Santiago, Chile and there is still three very long stages before they take the one rest day on Sunday.