KTM’s Cyril Despres benefitted from his rival’s mistake on Day 3 to win his first stage of the 2012 Dakar Rally.
Frenchman Cyril Despres continued his upward trend in the 2012 Dakar Rally on Tuesday by snagging his first stage victory. Winning by a margin of more than eight minutes, Despres crossed the finish line ahead of 45-year-old Dutchman Frans Verhoeven and now leads the field into its fourth day. Meanwhile Portugal’s Paulo Goncalves rounded out the podium during the third leg, which featured a difficult ascent into the Andes Mountains.
Spaniard Marc Coma was the first rider to kick off the third stage as it encountered tough river crossings, rocks and potholes. While traversing the 291km before the special Despres remained in close pursuit of Coma. When the two frontrunners hit the special section, Spaniard Joan Barreda Bort was in third followed by Aprilia’s Francisco Lopez and KTM’s Kuba Przygonski. During the first 40km Despres managed to overtake Coma for the lead with Barreda, Lopez and American Quinn Cody rounding out the top-five. At the next checkpoint, however, KTM’s Ruben Faria had moved into third and was running 10 seconds ahead of Goncalvez. Meanwhile, Portugal’s Helder Rodriguez was back in sixth but making up time on the front five.
Shortly afterward KTM’s Jakub Przygonski was at a standstill on the special and trying to make repairs while Coma got the better of Despres to retake the lead. Halfway into the course Barreda was back in third with Frenchman David Casteu and Lopez close behind. Toward the end of the special a fight broke out for the final podium spot between Verhoeven and Goncalvez as the duo remained separated by only eight seconds. Action was also tense up front as Despres caught up with Coma for the lead into the final checkpoint.
Spaniard Marc Coma made a wrong turn during the third special and lost more than 10 minutes on Despres.
However, Coma compromised the lead after making a wrong turn and losing 15 minutes on the leader. Lopez also lost more than five minutes after suffering navigation issues and getting lost. By taking the win more than 13 minutes ahead of his rival, Despres has moved more than 10 minutes ahead of the Spaniard in the overall rankings. In the end Verhoeven kept the advantage by just two seconds ahead of Goncalvez for runner up in the stage.
Tough news from the American camp as Jonah Street and Quinn Cody had to withdraw from the rally. After suffering mechanical problems in Stage 2, Street was unable to continue and had to officially announce his withdraw.
“I don’t really know what happened with the bike, yet,” Street said. “It’s something electrical for sure. I knew the bike wouldn’t make it through the dunes so, unfortunately, the Dakar rally ended for me right there.”
Meanwhile Cody suffered a fractured collarbone and minor head injuries during a crash, forcing his withdraw also. Check out video of Cody’s crash and also a summary of the third stage below.
Cyril Despres (FRA – KTM) 1st, 1st OA
“It was a very complicated special stage for me! It didn’t start well this morning, because when I hit a hole, I ripped off a fingernail on the clutch. 60 km later, my compass repeater stopped. We reached the mountains and I wanted to keep the same pace, because I knew that Marc was riding very fast in front of me, but when we got to a stream, I must have slowed the pace when I had to check my GPS. To cap it all, I broke my rear brake on the big climb, so the descent was very tricky, but I made sure I was careful. Over the last 50 kilometers, I couldn’t see many tire tracks, so I wasn’t sure that Marc was up ahead. In the end, I finished first and I’ve been told that he chose the wrong track so that’s going to be to my advantage. It’s good for my position, even if I’m never happy about other people’s setbacks.”
Marc Coma (ESP – KTM) 7th, 2nd OA
“After 170 km, there was a different track for the bikes and the cars. I checked the road-book and thought I was on the right track, but then I saw that wasn’t the case, because the next note was after 8 km and it wasn’t correct, so I turned around! 16 km is a lot! So, after that, I went on the attack to try and gain back some time, but today was a difficult day, even if the scenery was spectacular… Well, in the end, I’ve lost 13 minutes. It’s a lot, but when you make a mistake, you shouldn’t be surprised that the gaps open up. That’s racing for you. Yesterday was my day, but today definitely wasn’t!”
2012 Dakar Rally Stage 3 Results:
1. Cyril Despres, FRA (KTM) 03:48:38
Helder Rodrigues moved up to fifth overall in the rally after finishing 10 minutes behind Despres in Stage 3.
2. Frans Verhoeven, NLD (Sherco) 03:57:15
3. Paulo Goncalves, PRT (Husqvarna) 03:57:17
4. Helder Rodrigues, PRT (Yamaha) 03:58:41
5. Alain Duclos, FRA (Aprilia) 03:59:50
6. David Casteu, FRA (Yamaha) 04:00:20
7. Marc Coma, ESP (KTM) 04:01:42
8. Francisco Lopez, CHL (Aprilia) 04:06:37
9. Gerard Farres Guell, ESP (KTM) 04:06:57
10. Pal Anders Ullevalseter, NOR (KTM) 04:07:10
2012 Dakar Rally Overall Standings:
1. Cyril Despres, FRA (KTM) 07:31:42
2. Marc Coma, ESP (KTM) 07:41:54
3. David Casteu, FRA (Yamaha) 07:48:58
4. Francisco Lopez, CHL (Aprilia) 07:49:19
5. Helder Rodrigues, PRT (Yamaha) 07:51:31
6. Alain Duclos, FRA (Aprilia) 07:52:29
7. Paulo Goncalves, PRT (Husqvarna) 07:57:42
8. Pal Anders Ullevalseter, NOR (KTM) 07:58:00
9. Javier Pizzolito, ARG (Honda) 07:59:03
10. Jordi Viladoms, ESP (KTM) 08:00:08