Cyril Despres, seen here at the beginning of the 2013 Dakar Rally, earned his fifth Dakar title after 14 grueling stages of competition in South America.
KTM’s Ruben Faira took the win in the final stage of the 2013 Dakar Rally, but it wasn’t quite enough to claim the overall victory. His teammate, Cyril Despres, ended 10 minutes ahead of Faria in the general classification, earning his fifth career Dakar title. Husqvarna’s Joan Barreda finished Stage 14 in second-place and ends this year’s rally in 18th overall. Team HRC’s Helder Rodrigues finished third on the day and held to seventh in the cumulative ranking.
The big question at the beginning of the race from La Serena to Santiago was whether KTM’s Chaleco Lopez would be able to make up his eight-minute gap on Despres and move to the front of the overall leader board. Lopez, however, was hindered by a penalty incurred for changing an engine the night before, so had an additional 15-minutes to close for a chance at the title.
Due to low visibility and rain in the region the start was delayed, but once officials gave the all-clear Lopez was off like a rocket. He led through much of the competition, even coming across the finish in first, but due to his penalty placed well outside the top-10 for the stage.
While he pushed hard out front, battles between Barreda, Rodrigues, Faria, Despres, KTM’s Joan Pedrero and Barreda’s teammate Paulo Goncalves were fierce. Positions within the top-10 changed hands a number of times throughout the special, and by the finish the riders were essentially on top of one another, with just seconds making up the difference in their times.
Though he was unable to reach the top of the leader board, Lopez claimed third overall for the rally. KTM’s Ivan Jakes held to fourth and Pedrero, after incurring a penalty of his own for changing an engine, finished the 2013 Rally in fifth. Yamaha’s Oliver Pain took sixth followed by Rodrigues and his teammate Javier Pizzolito in seventh and eighth respectively. Yamaha’s Frans Verhoeven finished in ninth while Goncalves rounded out the top-10.
Cyril Despres: “I went for it, with all the surprises a Dakar can throw at you,” he said. “Little navigational mistakes, perhaps fewer than the others, taking care of my motorcycle and being in a good team. In the end, I’ve got a good reason to be very happy. The day when winning the Dakar becomes easy, it won’t be interesting any more. And this day is still far! It’s too long, it’s too tough, it’s too hot. It’s too cold. You’ve got to get up early in the morning. You’ve got to find your way out of the maze of dunes in Peru and Chile. You’ve got to tackle the stones and cactuses on the courses near Córdoba. It’s just too tricky for it to be easy to win. And it’s even better when you win a difficult race. I’m always focused on what I have to do. We’re up against a grueling element, the desert. Then there are the stones, the Andes… and we experience them. It’s as real as it gets.”
Joan Barreda: “I’m extremely pleased with my race, with the bike and with the team. We’ve taken a giant leap forward from last year’s race, and it shouldn’t be forgotten that this is only the second year with a completely new bike. Obviously, if I hadn’t broken the wheel at the start of the race, I’d have certainly finished on the final podium, which was always our aim.”
Paulo Goncalves: “We showed that we are highly competitive and capable of competing with the best. It’s been a really positive race, in spite of the final result that definitely didn’t reflect my real performance in this Dakar. The team will go home well satisfied, as we’ve proved that both the bike and the quality of the riders are up to the job. It’s a shame for Botturi who didn’t manage to finish the race despite the fact that he gave his heart for the team and fitted in with us right from the start.”
2013 Dakar Rally Stage 14 Results (Provisional)
La Serena to Santiago: total distance 630 km, timed special 128 km
1. Ruben Faria, PRT (KTM) 1:43:06
2. Joan Barreda, ESP (Husq) 1:43:14
3. Helder Rodrigues, PRT (Honda) 1:43:30
4. Mario Patrao, PRT (Suzuki) 1:44:27
5. Oliver Pain, FRA (Yamaha) 1:45:20
2013 Dakar Rally Final Standings:
1. Cyril Despres (KTM) 43:24:22
2. Ruben Faria (KTM) 43:35:05
3. Chaleco Lopez (KTM) 43:43:10
4. Ivan Jakes (KTM) 43:48:16
5. Joan Pedrero (KTM) 44:19:51
6. Oliver Pain (Yamaha) 44:30:52
7. Helder Rodrigues (Honda) 44:35:44
8. Javier Pizzolito (Honda) 44:50:29
9. Frans Verhoeven (Yamaha) 44:50:57
10. Paulo Goncalves (Husq) 44:52:42