Speedbrain Husqvarna – Joan Barreda landed a victory in the second leg of the Marathon stage, which ran from Cachi to San Miguel de Tucuman. A heavy rainfall in the night forced the organizers to reprogram a shorter than planned stage, and cancel the first part of the special test, leaving only the final 183 km (114 miles).
Joan Barreda on the Husqvarna TE449RR by Speedbrain notched up his third stage victory so far in this Dakar, equalling Chilean Lopez as the rider with most stage victories to date. Barreda stormed his way through a tough, technical special, making an excellent interpretation of the course, whilst imposing a seven minute advantage over his nearest rival. Noteworthy too, was the performance of Portuguese privateer Bianchi Prata aboard a standard TE449, a result which further evidences the excellent competitive edge that the 449 has in the rally. Goncalves and Botturi, on the other hand, made a navigational blunder as they followed the main leader’s group down a mistaken route. Jordi Viladoms is still in with a shout; he restarted today after yesterday’s long delay and came in twenty-first on the day.
After eight stages and around 4000 km of racing, the Dakar caravan gets a well-deserved day of rest tomorrow. But there’s still another 4000 km to go before Santiago…
Joan Barreda :”After a couple of days in which just about everything has happened to me, this is a really important victory! Winning again is vital for me and for the whole team. I was up with Despres, but 50 km from the finish I saw that he had taken the wrong route, so I halted and then decided to take another path, and that led to victory. “
Alessandro Botturi: “I was unable to find the right route. A whole load of us arrived at that point about a 110 km into the special. Besides the track was really dangerous. Anyway, we are only at the halfway point, and I’m happy with the way things have gone up until now.”
From KTM – After a difficult day on Friday in the Dakar 2013, Red Bull KTM Factory Rider and titleholder Cyril Despres managed to claw back some time in Stage Eight on Saturday, the last day before the one rest day in this mammoth 8000 km trek through a good slice of South America.
Despres and his factory teammate had worked in the riders’ bivouac for much of the night to change engines on his machine after he suffered mechanical issues the previous day. Stages seven and eight were designated ‘marathon’ stages in which competitors were allowed no outside assistance from their support team. So it was up to his fellow factory riders to help Cyril make the switch. In a show of typical KTM team solidarity they all worked to change over the engine of Despres’ bike with the KTM-supported bike of Polish rider Marek Dabrowski. KTM is indebted to Marek’s team for allowing the changeover.
Despres went out on Saturday hoping to gain some time and managed to avoid navigational mistakes to finish 9′26″ down on new overall leader David Casteu of France. But he will be handed a 15-minute penalty for the engine change and this will drop him down to sixth place overall ahead of the second week of racing. His position going into the second half of the rally could also be influenced if other riders choose to strategically change their engines on the rest day Sunday.
The French rider also seemed to have a lucky break when many of the leader riders got lost in the final section of Saturday’s timed special and finished well down the order on the official time sheets. On Saturday riders also had a much shorter challenge than the planned 491 km of timed special when organizers announced at the beginning of the day that only the second half would be contested due to heavy overnight rain in the region. The second half of the timed special was new to all riders because it broke new ground not previously covered in earlier editions.
Team boss Alex Doringer said on Saturday night after clearly what was an eventful day on the stage that the race was still wide open. “Saturday showed us that nothing has been decided yet,” he said.
Gas Gas Laia Sanz – You can imagine how glad I am?? I would never have imagined making a 13th place in the Dakar and i think it does a lot to get it back;) I hope they don’t annul the stage and the result stands … I’m pretty good physically and ready for the rest day and the bike is very reliable, so I can’t ask for more. I just want to say GRÀAAACIAS for your posts!!! Saludos a todos!!
David Casteu – A huge navigational success! I’m over the moon because it’s difficult to ride at the front while attacking and keeping your bearings, navigating… I was able to keep my cool while everyone else was spinning around, but I stayed focused and was the first across the line… And leading the Dakar during the rest day, that’s terrific!
Olivier Pain – “A terribly difficult day. Well, difficult, it’s rather that we made a mistake. I was thinking that I had to stay focused and, right on cue, I made a mistake. I don’t understand, everything seemed fine. Chaleco went into a valley a bit too early. He came back just in front of me. We were doing well. And then, I don’t know. We should have turned a bit more to the right but it was difficult with the rain. That’s the way it is. I was the big loser. Of course, I knew it wasn’t all wrapped up yet; but there will be further surprises during the second week. The aim is not to get hurt and to make it to Santiago. But there’s still much to go…”
Cyril Despres – At any rate, I’ve put my bad day behind me! It was yesterday, when my fifth gear broke down in what was a fast special. I lost time, but I was nevertheless lucky because my friend Marek Dabrowski gave me his engine and took mine yesterday evening at the marathon bivouac… So today I was able to ride normally, and I could have pulled off a big coup today, because I almost took the right trail at the entrance of the río, but all the tracks went left, so in the end I followed them and came upon everyone riding around at sixes and sevens and looking at each other. When this happens, I only look at my road book and the landscape… I didn’t see some riders break away and I had to make a U-turn 500 m from the right trail, but that’s the way it is… There are good days, less good days and great days, and I’m waiting for a great day!