Stage 10 of the 2013 Dakar Rally turned riders northwest on a route winding from Cordoba to La Rioja, covering terrain marked by a mix of soil and stones. The 357-kilometer trek became a battle between KTM’s Cyril Despres and Husqvarna Rally Team by Speedbrain’s Joan Barreda, each rider enjoying a stint out front through the course of the race. In the end Barreda maintained a slight advantage, beating the French rider by just over one minute and earning his fourth stage win of the competition. Barreda’s teammate Paulo Goncalves trailed Despres by an additional minute and a half to claim third.
”Today I’m really pleased with my fourth victory in this Dakar,” said Barreda. “I rode very well today, very cleanly and didn’t take any risks once the special got going.”
Despres had the task of opening the road following his stage victory the previous day, and he led through the first third of the contest. Barreda, on the other hand, was back in seventh through the first way-point, and was charged with moving up the ranks to challenge for the lead. 132 km into the race, Barreda had made his push and was out front, though both riders were essentially neck-and-neck. Over the next hundred kilometers Barreda was able to extend his lead slightly, arriving at the 223 km mark just over one minute ahead of Despres and by the end of the race had not gained any more time on the French rider. Barreda’s earlier misfortunes left him standing in 35th-place overall at the start of Stage 10 though and following his win he now occupies 30th-place in the general classification. Despres, however, gained the overall lead thanks to his performance and now lies 1’37’’ ahead of his KTM teammate Ruben Faria.
“With a motivated Joan Barreda on my tail, you can’t slow down,” said Despres. “I managed to keep the pace. The bike again worked well and suffered less than yesterday. The selective side is what makes the Dakar different and stand out when compared to all the other rallies. Picking up seconds in the general standings is not the most important thing. What matters is making statements, making a difference, gaining in confidence and letting the racing do the talking.”
Goncalves kept a consistent pace and never fell further back than fourth, but he had KTM’s Joan Pedrero and Ivan Jakes as well as his teammate Alessandro Botturi to battle with throughout the stage. The four riders were in constant flux, exchanging positions a number of times throughout the day but at the 140 km mark, Botturi went down. Luckily the crash wasn’t too serious and he was able to receive treatment for his bumps and bruises at the refueling point soon after, though he may have broken his pinky in the incident.
“I was in third place until halfway through the special, and I felt great, but then I hit a rock as I took a curve, lost my balance and fell,” said Botturi. “I hurt my pinky quite badly, I hope that it’s not broken.”
Goncalves ended up pushing hard through the final segments of the stage and built a lead of almost two minutes over Pedrero at the finish. After official times were registered, it was found that American Kurt Caselli, who started the day in 15th, had posted the fifth-fastest time, beating out Jakes by 10 seconds. Botturi charged through the pain in his finger to finish seventh, followed by Faria in eighth. Team HRC’s Helder Rodrigues ended in ninth while Yamaha’s Frans Verhoeven claimed 10th.
Behind Despres and Faria in first and second overall, KTM’s Chaleco Lopez hangs on in third. Jakes remains in fourth overall and is followed by Botturi in fifth.
Riders face a difficult challenge in Stage 11, riding from La Rioja to Fiambala, since historically the region boasts high temperatures and plenty of white sand, all which could spell trouble for the machines.
2013 Dakar Rally Stage 10 Results
Cordoba to La Rioja: total distance 636 km – timed special 357 km
1. Joan Barreda, ESP (Husq) 4:43:14
2. Cyril Despres, FRA (KTM) 4:44:29
3. Paulo Goncalves, PRT (Husq) 4:45:58
4. Joan Pedrero, ESP (KTM) 4:47:41
5. Kurt Caselli, USA (KTM) 4:50:10
6. Ivan Jakes, SVK (KTM) 4:51:17
7. Alessandro Botturi, ITA (Husq) 4:51:19
8. Ruben Faria, PRT (KTM) 4:51:29
9. Helder Rodrigues, PRT (Honda) 4:52:48
10. Frans Verhoeven, NLD (Yamaha) 4:53:38
2013 Dakar Rally Overall Standings after Stage 10:
1. Cyril Despres (KTM) 30:47:04
2. Ruben Faria (KTM) 30:48:41
3. Chaleco Lopez (KTM) 31:00:45
4. Ivan Jakes (KTM) 31:05:25
5. Alessandro Botturi (Husq) 31:11:29
6. Helder Rodrigues (Honda) 31:21:23
7. Stefan Svitko (KTM) 31:26:26
8. Joan Pedrero (KTM) 31:27:22
9. Oliver Pain (Yamaha) 31:34:06
10. Israel Esquerre (Honda) 31:34:10