Cyril Despres extended his lead over teammate and rival Marc Coma with a Stage 5 victory in the 2012 Dakar Rally.
Cyril Despres extended his overall lead in the 2012 Dakar Rally with a Stage 5 victory. The Frenchman gained ground on KTM teammate and rival, Marc Coma, by claiming his 28th career Dakar stage win. Husqvarna’s Joan Barreda was third on the day.
Stage 5 of the Dakar saw competitors complete their stay in Argentina, the course stretching from Chilectio to Fiambala. The latter location is renowned for its dunes, a Dakar staple, but weather shortened part of the planned route. While brutal heat, with temps peaking over 110 degrees, defined the opening stages in Argentina, rainfall had damaged portions of the Stage 5 course. As a consequence the planned 265 km special was shortened to 186 km.
Coma, the victor of Stage 4, couldn’t gain any ground on Despres on Day 5. The two front runners kept close to each other in the opening checkpoints, with Despres managing to build 1’41 second advantage through the Fiambala dunes.
As expected, the 2012 Dakar is a two-man show between the consummate KTM duo. Despres currently holds just under a ten minute lead on Coma. The nearest rival to the KTM factory riders is Yamaha’s Helder Rodrigues – a full 47 minutes adrift of Despres in the overall. The Portuguese rider did himself no favors in Stage 5, finishing 14th.
Barreda’s third-place finish in Stage 5 impressed, but the Husqvarna pilot languishes three hours back of the leaders. Barreda’s Husqvarna Speedbrain teammate, Paulo Goncalves, was 10th in the stage and sits fifth overall. Aprilia’s Francisco Lopez is fourth overall, well within podium pace. Chaleco struggled to a ninth-place result in Stage 5.
Cyril Despres (FRA – KTM): “After the first day, you could have said that lots of other riders were going to be involved in the fight, but in the end, there aren’t too many! The gaps aren’t very big at the moment and we’re playing with gaps of two minutes. Today was easier for me, because I set off behind him. Perhaps tomorrow, it will be the opposite. I’ve got a lead over him and it’s a fairly comfortable cushion. Mind you, it can disappear quickly, so I need to keep the same state of mind and the same amount of concentration.”
Marc Coma (ESP – KTM): “It was another hard and complicated stage: the mythical Fiambala stage. The special was a bit shorter than planned. In physical terms, that’s good, but for me, the more distance there is, the more difficulties there are, the more likely something may happen and the more opportunities might come my way. I made a small mistake and I’m paying for it. But I’m still here and still aiming to win. With the Atacama, it’s a new race that begins. We’ll see what happens.”
Helder Rodrigues (PRT – Yamaha): It’s a difficult Dakar. I’m feeling a bit tired, but everybody is in the same situation. I’ve had a lot of little problems with the bike and things aren’t going as well as I would have liked. But I’m still here and I’ve not suffered. I’m third in the general standings. I’m on top form and I can go on the attack when I want, and that’s what I’m going to do, because now another part of the Dakar begins. I want to go head to head with the leading two.
Francisco López (CHL – Aprilia): “I did not appreciate this stage. The ground was harsh and we risked lots on it. I lost time at the beginning looking for a waypoint, I turned right and the device confirmed the passage. I continued riding when I noticed that with my lack of training it is impossible to keep the pace of Coma and Despres. The podium is still in my possibilities.”
2012 Dakar Rally Stage 5 Results:
1. Cyril Despres, FRA (KTM)
2. Marc Coma, SPA (KTM) +1:41
3. Joan Barreda, SPA (Husqvarna) +12:42
4. Stefan Svitko, SVK (KTM) +13:55
5. Jordi Viladoms, SPA (KTM) +14:17
6. Pal Anders Ullevalseter, NOR (KTM) +14:41
7. Ruben Faria, PRT (KTM) +14:51
8. Gerard Farres Guell, SPA (KTM) +18:49
9. Francisco Lopez, CHL (Aprilia) +19:10
10. Paulo Goncalves, PRT (Husqvarna) +19:31
2012 Dakar Rally Overall Results:
1. Cyril Despres, FRA (KTM)
2. Marc Coma, SPA (KTM) +9:51
3. Helder Rodrigues, PRT (Yamaha) +47:56
4. Francisco Lopez, CHL (Aprilia) +49:00
5. Paulo Goncalves, PRT (Husqvarna) +54:47
6. Jordi Viladoms, SPA (KTM) +58:17
7. David Casteu, FRA (Yamaha) +58:58
8. Gerard Farres Guell, SPA (KTM) +1:03:13
9. Stefan Svitko, SVK (KTM) +1:07:26
10. Juan Pedrero Garcia, SPA (KTM) +1:14:04