Chaleco Lopez made up plenty of ground in Stage 3, winning the timed section and moving into second overall.
Stage 3 of the 2013 Dakar Rally saw riders leave Pisco, Peru and head south to Nazca. They continued across the large sand dunes that gave many riders difficulty in Stage 2 and faced steep mid-section altitude changes over soil and sand. As happened in Stage 2, a number of riders met with navigation challenges and mechanical issues which made for slow-going over the timed portion and opened the door for others move up in overall standing. Chaleco Lopez of KTM came out on top in Stage 3, thanks in large part to the measured pace of a number of riders ahead of him.
“I started from right back in the field and I went flat out right through the stage to try to catch Cyril,” said Lopez. “I focused on navigating and finding the waypoints, and everything went well. But tomorrow’s stage will be different at the front of the race, so I’m taking things one day at a time.”
Lopez, as well as Stage 3 second-place finisher Paulo Goncalves of Husqvarna and third-place finisher Cyril Despres of KTM, rode through one checkpoint at nearly double the speed of Stage 2 winner Joan Barreda. The Husqvarna rider ran into trouble early in the timed section, breaking his rear wheel after a jump which forced him to slow greatly.
“I was going really well until 40 km in, when I landed after a jump and broke the rear wheel,” said Barreda. “I was forced to stop to try and sort out the damage, but there was nothing I could do about it. So I had to carry on at a slower pace until the end of the special. A shame! But that’s the Dakar. Tomorrow is another day!”
”I really pushed it today and am happy about the podium,” said Goncalves. “It was a shame that I got stuck in a dune and lost about a minute trying to get going again. I wanted to win and came pretty close to it”
Others who placed high in Stage 2, such as Joan Pedrero of KTM and Goncalves’ teammate Matt Fish, also struggled to hold a consistent level of speed through Stage 3 and slipped in rank on the overall leaderboard. Barreda now sits in 18th after three stages, Pedrero is in 23rd and Fish is in 31st.
Following Stage 3, defending Dakar champion, Despres, sits atop the overall timesheet. He has a slim advantage over Lopez who moved to second overall and is five minutes ahead of new third-place rider Pal-Anders Ullevalseter of Norway.
“I think I made significant progress in the general classification today,” said Despres. “I started in 12th place but I soon caught up with the leaders and I was at the front of the race from km 190 onwards. Considering that I started 20 minutes after Barreda and Pedrero, I think I did quite well!”
Behind the three KTM riders leading overall, Oliver Pain of Yamaha Racing France moved up to fourth following his ninth-place finish in Stage 3. David Casteu, racing his 10th Dakar, trails his countryman by just a few seconds in fifth.
American Kurt Caselli lost position following his 30th-place finish in Stage 3, falling from 11th to 19th overall.
Honda’s factory-backed effort, Team HRC, has yet to make an impact at the front of the pack, with Javier Pizzolito leading the three-rider team in 21st overall after finishing 10th in Stage 3.
Despres’ 2:51 lead on Lopez will be challenged in Stage 4 as riders continue south from Nazca to Arequipa, covering over 718 kilometers, 289 of which will be timed.
2013 Dakar Rally Stage 3 Results:
Pisco to Nazca – total distance 343 km: 100 km liaison and 243 km special
1. Chaleco Lopez, Chile (KTM) 2:37:54
2. Paolo Goncalves, Portugal (Husqvarna) 2:39:02
3. Cyril Despres, France (KTM) 2:42:02
4. Alessandro Botturi, Italy (Husqvarna) 2:42:59
5. Jakub Przygonski, Poland (KTM) 2:43:14
6. Daniel Gouet, Chile (Honda) 2:44:29
7. Gerard Farres Guell, Spain (Honda) 2:44:52
8. Frans Verhoeven, Netherlands (Yamaha) 2:45:16
9. Olivier Pain, France (Yamaha) 2:45:22
10. Javier Pizzolito, Argentina (Honda) 2:45:33
2013 Dakar Rally Overall Standings after Stage 3:
1. Cyril Despres (KTM) 6:15:03
2. Chaleco Lopez (KTM) 6:17:03
3. Pal-Anders Ullevalseter (KTM) 6:20:02
4. Oliver Pain (Yamaha) 6:21:06
5. David Casteu (Yamaha) 6:21:11
6. Israel Esquerre (Honda) 6:21:22
7. Frans Verhoeven (Yamaha) 6:23:11
8. Jordi Viladoms (Husqvarna) 6:24:11
9. Stefan Svitko (KTM) 6:24:43
10. Jakub Przygonski (KTM) 6:24:48