From KTM – Red Bull KTM factory rider Kurt Caselli (USA), drafted into the Orange factory team to ride the KTM 450 Rally bike of injured teammate Marc Coma on Wednesday picked up his second stage win in his first ever Dakar. Teammates Cyril Despres and Ruben Faria consolidated their 1-2 overall positions after Stage Eleven of the Dakar 2013
The American, who also won Stage Seven and has earned himself the nickname of ‘Special K’ took advantage of the Baja-like terrain on Wednesday to attack on his KTM 450 Rally bike after rain in the area had firmed up some of the loose sand. Classified at He is now working on getting back into the top 20 after picking up more than three hours of penalties for missing checkpoints and waypoints in Stage Eight.
Despres, who is going for his fifth Dakar title had a good day in a stage that was both technical and physically challenging to finish in third, six minutes 24 behind Caselli. He now has a 13 minutes 16 seconds lead in the overall standings from Faria, his support rider or ‘water carrier’. Factory teammateJoan Pedrero was fourth in Wednesday and is sixth overall while KTM rider Chaleco Lopez was fifth in the stage and stays at third overall.
It was an unlucky day however for South African Darryl Curtis of the KTM Factory B Team who crashed with about 70 km of the timed special to go. He managed to finish the stage but had pain in his shoulder and back and was receiving medical treatment at the Bivouac, Team Manager Alex Doringer reported. All other six riders in the main factory team and the B team are in good shape.
KTM riders currently occupy the first four places in the overall standings but there are many potential traps ahead as the Dakar caravan back towards Chile and the Atacama Desert on its way to Santiago and the finish line on Saturday, January 19. By the time they reach the Chilean capital riders would have competed more than 8000 km since the start of the race in Lima on January 5, 2013. In past days they have been battling with extreme heat, which adds another layer of difficulty to the challenge.
Alex Doringer: “Caselli did an amazing job today and we were all impressed, including Cyril. Cyril was able to use Caselli’s speed to ride with him for his third place in today’s stage and to consolidate his overall lead. Now we head for the Atacama Desert and this is an area we know from earlier Dakar Rallies. Cyril is feeling good and looking forward to getting into the dunes again,” he said.
Despres, one of the most experienced riders in the field is taking everything in his stride. “The challenge is always to find the right balance between concentration and preserving yourself and your bike,” he said. “If I ride too slowly I lose concentration… But if you ride too hard on a race of this length and inevitably you risk wearing out both man and machine.”
You can hear Kurt Caselli’s interview from today at this link, click the little play button on the right side where is says “Stage 11”
Speedbrain Husky – Paulo Goncalves took second place in the much-feared La Rioja to Fiambalà stage of the Dakar 2013. The Portuguese rider rode an error-free race on the TE449RR by Speedbrain which handled the job of the sandy terrain perfectly. Paulo thus moves up to eleventh place on the overall leader-board.
Alessandro Botturi too, put in a valiant effort struggling throughout the stage with a fractured pinky on his left-hand after yesterday’s fall. Alessandro consolidates his fifth overall position with three days to go, whittling away at the time of Jakes who finished five seconds behind the Italian rider.
Joan “Bang Bang” Barreda was less fortunate, finishing in sixth place. He battled on through the special test with a pain in the left shoulder, as well as an aching hand from a previous fall. Matt Fish, too made up ground coming in twenty-first.
The Husqvarna Rallye Team by Speedbrain thus rounds off another successful day with three out of the first seven riders, and a ninth podium place in eleven days of racing.
Tomorrow it’s back to Chile with the 715 km (447 mile) Fiambalà-Copiapò stage including a 319 km special and a difference in height of some 3000 metres as the stage takes on the Andes.
Paulo Goncalves: ”I rode a great race. I’m pleased for myself and for the whole team who really worked well together in this stage. I was really up for it today, and I’d love to be able to win a stage before it’s over! I’ll keep trying.”
Joan Barreda: “I hit a hole at high speed and felt an intense pain in my left shoulder. I had to slow the pace right down so that it wouldn’t get worse. My hand was playing up a lot too. I hope to feel better for the last three days.”
Alessandro Botturi: “My finger was really causing me a lot of pain. I thought that I wasn’t going to be able to make it, but I hung in there. I’m pleased with the way that it went today. The thing is still wide open.”
Chaleco Lopez – I rode calmly. We got a bit lost at the end, but we soon found the right track and we can’t have lost more than 2 or 3 minutes. Mind you, we could have lost a lot more. So, I’m quite happy. We know that Fiambala is always a difficult and complicated stage. I’m reaching my goals, so that’s fine. Today was ok, but I want to get to Santiago and rest a little. Tomorrow, we’ll arrive in Chile and I hope I can ride a good stage. This La Rioja-Fiambala stage was a really difficult stage, a stage that’s typical of here.
Laia Sanz – Great stage today!! I have much fun on the bike and I have run all I’ve been able to get to the camp as soon as possible by going to bed early. As you see, I’d fast! hehe!! 😉 Keep dust, but at least made the 25th place today is like a victory after two days so hard.
Yamaha – Today’s 11th stage of the 2013 Dakar Rally proved to be another impressive one for Yamaha Netherlands Verhoeven Team rider Frans Verhoeven. The day’s action took the riders through more sand dunes, then on to pass the eastern slopes of the Andes mountains. The Dutchman was on top form on his YZ450F based machine, attacking the hugely varied conditions of the 191km stage (shortened from an original 220km by organisers) from La Rioja to Fiambalá, finishing in 11th to jump an impressive five places up the overall standings and break solidly into the top ten, from 13th to eighth.
Fellow Yamaha rider Olivier Pain also made today count and gained valuable ground. The French rider moved up two places in the overall standings from ninth to seventh. Yamaha Racing France rider Pain wrapped up today’s stage in 14th after a solid ride. Michael Metge continues to bring up the rear, just inside the top 20 in 19th position.
“Right from the beginning it was very difficult today,” commented Frans Verhoeven. “There were waterholes, broken edges, it was a real mess. It was difficult to ride but also difficult to navigate. At one point I thought I was on the right track, but soon I found out it was completely wrong. Overall some very tricky circumstances! I rode with Alain Duclos along the way; together we tried to find a waypoint at kilometer 47. It was well really hidden, I’m sure a lot of riders went in the wrong direction there. There were ten guys in front of me and I saw ten tracks going different ways. I moved on by myself and entered the riverbeds. We had rain on the way to the special and the special itself was wet as well. There was a lot of mud and water in normally dry riverbeds. The water had broken the edges, which made it even more difficult. The Dakar is not over yet. It began with some hard stages and it will be difficult until the end. I’ll try to make the best of it.”