140 riders are scheduled to take the start of today’s 850km stage. This will be the longest day of the Dakar. After a rest day, the riders are recharged and ready to go.
After the first week of ups and downs for nearly everyone, Cyril Despres has to be considered the big winner for the week. After facing a day with a broken transmission, then a motor change and falling back in the order, Despres made it all up by not getting lost on stage 7 and finds himself right in the mix for the overall lead.
The other big winner for the week is team Yamaha. Their riders have all had turns at the top for both stage wins and the overall lead. After a couple of years of development the YZ450 is looking very competitive and reliable. The fortunes for Speedbrain Husqvarna and HRC Honda are far less favorable. The Husky’s have been fast on individual days, but as a team, any shot at the overall is long. Honda’s biggest moment of the week was when water carrier Johnny Campbell finished 2nd on stage 7. His luck in starting in the back allowed him to miss the big detour all the top riders took.
-At a whopping 852 kilometres, this stage is the longest in the 2013 Dakar, with a 593 km special for the cars, the motorcycles and the quads. The lucky trucks will only face a 293 km timed section. But it is true that the first stage after the rest day will focus on the trucks, which will go head-to-head in just one of the two parts of the special but will have the rare privilege of opening the way. Monday is a rather rolling stage which will favour the experts in trajectories. In the other categories, the distance is twice as long due to the addition of a much more technical part where the pilots will have to swerve round curves in the forests. They’ll have to watch out for the trees, not least because swift assistance trucks won’t be allowed onto this course. The drivers and riders will have to stay extremely focused throughout. It’s also an opportunity to open up gaps in the motorcycle classification, where the top 18 riders lie within less than an hour of each other, as well as the car category, which is still looking for an undisputed master.
CP1 – Cyril Despres has posted a best time of 34’44” in the motorcycle category,, with Hélder Rodrigues’ Honda a mere 27″ back. Perhaps he’s decided to step it up a notch in today’s special following his careful start to the rally, but what’s for sure is that the Frenchman has clawed back 1’13” from fellow countryman and overall leader David Casteu.
With all the leaders through, Johnny Campbell looks to have the 4th best time through check 2.
CP4 – Despres, Barreda, Botturi, Faria, Campbell
Problems for Yamahas – Overall leader David Casteu has come to a standstill 210 km into today’s special. The rider from Nice had already stopped before to check something on his motorcycle. It looks like he’s got a fuel supply problem (a leak, maybe?). But the Yamaha rider stopped 16 km from the refuelling point, could it be that he’s run out of petrol?
Olivier Pain has also stopped, 182 km into the special, for some as yet unknown reason. The Frenchman and former overall leader has come to a halt in a forested area where the course of today’s special follows a forest road.
Kurt Caselli has been running about 15th position through CP4, he should arrive at CP5 anytime now.
Holy Cow – We thought he might have run out of petrol due to a leak, but the reason why David Casteu lost time in the special was because he hit a cow! The Yamaha rider hurt his shoulder. The medical team strapped it at the end of the first part of the special and will be keeping an eye on him.
CP6 – At the midpoint of the special it is; Despres,Barreda, Campbell, Faria, Botturi. It seems that after his strong stage 7, and lackluster overall performance of the team leaders, perhaps Johnny Campbell has been given the high sign by the HRC team to ride his own race?
– Francisco López’s gunpowder seems to have been wet in the first part of the special, where he conceded 10’40”. With Olivier Pain losing ground too, Ivan Jakes and Jeremías Israel Esquerre stand to gain from the situation.
CP8- Despres, Barreda, Faria, Botturi, Gonclaves, 11th Campbell, 12th Caselli, Laia Sanz is currently not showing on the scoring, hope she has not had any problem.
CP9 – Cyril Despres still leads Joan Barreda by 3’21”, Alessandro Botturi by 3’51”, Ruben Faria by 6’18”, Hélder Rodrigues by 8’46”, Johnny Campbell by 13’38”, Pedro Bianchi Prata by 21’18” and Felipe Prohens by 26’48”. Olivier Pain started the special only a few minutes ago, having taken a tumble earlier. He and David Casteu are two of the major casualties of today’s stage.
Finish – first bikes are arriving at end of stage; Despres, Jakes, Barreda, Campbell
Stage win to Despres – The man on the no. 1 KTM was 4’03” faster than Joan Barreda. Alessandro Botturi (+5’14”) took third in this stage, ahead of Ruben Faria (+7’47”) and Hélder Rodrigues (+8’47”). Ivan Jakes finished sixth, 9’37” down on the winner. Olivier Pain and David Casteu have yet to cross the finish line. Ruben Faria will take the overall lead due to the misfortune of the Yamahas, he is 5 min ahead of Despres now.
|2||BARREDA BORT (ESP)||HUSQVARNA||5:45:39|
|9||FARRES GUELL (ESP)||HONDA||5:55:48|
|16||BIANCHI PRATA (PRT)||HUSQVARNA||6:07:58|
|18||GUASCH (ESP)||GAS – GAS||6:11:02|
|20||VAN NIEKERK (ZAF)||KTM||6:11:07|
|10||ISRAEL ESQUERRE (CHL)||HONDA||26:35:42|
|14||VAN NIEKERK (ZAF)||KTM||26:50:53|