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Dakar Rally Stage 7 News & Results
Stage 7 Underway
Stage 7 is a long 640 km stage with one 218km special in the middle of it. Today is the also the start of the marathon stage. The riders will bivouac in the desert tonight and have very little support. They will not see the support crews until the end of tomorrows stage. The rest day is on Sunday. 145 bikes are scheduled to start today.
– Francisco Lopez started the special stage at 10.10 AM local time. 218 km lie ahead of him, on the first timed section on Argentine soil on the Dakar 2013. The first 136 km of the special stage will take place on earthen tracks before a more rocky section leading up to the finishing line.
– Caselli to early lead ; Now that the first 5 competitors have reached the first intermediate point, Aemerican Kurt Caselli provisionally leads the stage, 51 seconds ahead of Francisco Lopez, 1’11” in front of Alessandro Botturi, 2’29” ahead of Ruben Faria and 3’02” in front of Cyril Despres.
CP1 – With the sixth rider reaching the first time-check point, the provisional order has changed: Olivier Pain is on the coat tails of Kurt Caselli, with only three seconds separating the two bikers. Frans Verhoeven climbs into joint third place alongside Polish rider Kuba Przygosky, 27” behind the leader.
CP2 – first bikes through – Caselli, Pain, Verhoeven, PRZYGONSKI, Chaleco
CP3 – Caselli reaches 3 rd check point, order of top rides stays pretty much the same. Despres is running about 9 minutes off lead pace. Top bikes are all within justs a few minutes of each other.
Even though his lead is slight, Kurt Caselli still remains out in front of the special ahead of Olivier Pain and Frans Verhoeven by 1’11”. At the 142-km point, Cyril Despres has again lost time and trails the stage leader by 8’59”. Another of the leading trio in the general standings, David Casteu has posted a time in the top 10, a little less than 3 minutes behind Caselli.
CP5 – Caselli, Chaleco, Faria are in, the stage finish is just ahead. From the scoring, it looks like Chaleco is the first bike on the course and the two chasers are just behind. Kurt could easily take the stage win just by following Chaleco to the finish line today. All just part of the strategy that is Dakar. I can’t help but wonder if all this pressure from Caselli is to help Despres, pushing everyone else harder to see who cracks.
-Problems for Vidadoms – The Spanish rider has ground to a halt just after the 38-km mark, at a point where the rally route follows an earthen track. He appears to be suffering technical problems.
Finish – Chaleco, Faria and Caselli have arrived at the end of the special stage. For the moment, it appears that Kurt Caselli has won stage 7, 1:23 ahead of Chaleco. We will have to wait to see if anyone else can match that time as additional riders come it.
Kurt Gets Win! – Replacing Marc Coma on a KTM bike, Kurt Caselli perhaps did not expect to win a special stage on the Dakar 2013. However, that is just what the American has done on this ultra-fast timed section, gobbling up the 218 kilometres in a time of 1:51’31”.
Pain Keeps lead – The young French leader of the general bike standings is not ready to budge even an inch: by finishing 1’23” behind the day’s winner at the same time as Francisco Lopez, he strengthens his lead. Frans Verhoeven has made a comeback with fourth place, 1’30” behind Caselli, in front of provisional fifth placed rider Ruben Faria. Cyril Despres has lost 13 minutes on this special stage and drops back to 14’07” from the leader in the general standings.
Mechanical Problems for Despres – Cyril has transmission problems with his KTM 450RR today that held him back. He lost precious time to the leaders. With this being the marathon stage, it will be interesting to see how tomorrow goes for him. He will not be able to change the motor until Sunday’s rest day. This adds a whole new dimension to the overall picture for the rally.