Here David Casteu navigates the difficult terrain of Stage 5 on his way to the third stage win of his career.
Oliver Pain continues to lead overall through five stages.
Stage 5 of the 2013 Dakar Rally saw riders leave the towering sand dunes of the opening stages behind for the rocky soil of southern Peru during the 136-kilometer special section. David Casteu earned the third stage win of his career, coming in just over one minute ahead of his teammate and countryman, Oliver Pain. The two Yamaha riders earned top-three finishes in Stage 4 as well, and continue to command the overall lead, with Pain in the number-one spot and Casteu in second. KTM rider Joan Pedrero trailed Pain by almost three minutes to finish third for the stage. The Spanish rider now sits in 21st overall.
“The stage I won in 2010 seems a long time ago,” said Casteu. “I’ve always said to myself that winning a special stage is fabulous. What’s more, winning at the start of the rally when all the riders are still in it, it’s really great. At the end of the Dakar, it can be argued that other riders relax and manage their position. When you win like that with all these riders who’ve got the bit between their teeth, it’s good. Also, it was on a 136-km long special stage, so today it was like a long sprint. I’m really happy about it. I’ve really got the feel of my bike now and I’m really enjoying it. It’s a bike on which I feel good, on which I gobble up the obstacles and behind the handlebars of which I’m relaxed and calm. I arrived on this Dakar having taken stock, with the aim of enjoying each moment, each second. I’m 38 years old and I’m going to take every day as it comes. I’m itching to ride flat out and today I had great fun.”
Pain had a bit less exuberance than Casteu in the lead-up to Stage 5, feeling the pressure of having taken over the outright lead after his performance in Stage 4. He focused on remaining stable on the bike and avoiding navigation errors when at all possible, though he did lose his way briefly at the start of the timed section, a mistake he quickly rectified.
“This morning, I didn’t know how it was going to work out,” said Pain. “I wasn’t stressed out, but I wanted to avoid making a mistake so that people wouldn’t say, ‘he got caught out because he got too big for his boots’. I set off in a good state of mind. I was especially concentrating on not falling. I made a small navigation error right at the beginning, but I put it right straight away. I didn’t see Joan (Barreda) stopped next to the track. I don’t know if he had problems or if he made a mistake. I had to open the road for three-quarters of the day. David started to catch up with me a bit in the middle, but I put some distance in between us near the end. It was a good special stage, very dangerous at the beginning with a bit of navigation before a big rocky area. The end was more twisting in a canyon with nice tracks and some fesh-fesh. It was a nice stage to ride and I’m still leader. That makes it two days running now.”
Perhaps the biggest upset of the day came for Husqvarna Rally Team by Speedbrain’s Joan Barreda, who ran into trouble with his fuel pump 72 km into the timed section. He set off from the start in strong position after his win in Stage 3, and was still in the top-four through the first 67 km. The delay cost the Spanish rider immense amounts of time and left him dead last for Stage 5. He fell from fourth overall to 54th and added over three hours to his deficit on the lead pace. Barreda will likely improve on his position as the Rally continues, but his hopes for a title in 2013 have been severely damaged.
Barreda’s teammate Alessandro Botturi, however, avoided major incident and was able to finish fourth in Stage 5, moving him up to seventh overall.
”I set out to win today, but it turned out to be more tricky than I’d imagined. I was unable to attack in the way I’d have liked because of the lack of visibility and the fesh-fesh, but it was a good stage for me,” said Botturi.
Defending Dakar champion Cyril Despres of KTM took fifth in the stage and remains third overall. The French rider trails Pain by just over six minutes in the cumulative tally.
Stefan Svitko of Slovakia notched his best stage performance yet in the 2013 Rally, placing sixth ahead of Chaleco Lopez who took seventh just a few seconds behind. Team HRC’s Helder Rodrigues earned another top-10 stage finish, coming in eighth. The Portuguese rider’s consistent performance through recent stages has moved him up to 12th overall, still on position behind teammate Javier Pizzolito who now sits in 11th.
American rider Kurt Caselli took 20th in Stage 5 and moved to 19th overall.
2013 Dakar Rally Stage 5 Results
Arequipa to Arica: total distance 411 km – liaison of 275 km and 136 km of timed special
1. David Casteu, FRA (Yamaha) 1:39:42
2. Oliver Pain, FRA (Yamaha) 1:40:51
3. Joan Pedrero, ESP (KTM) 1:42:40
4. Alessandro Botturi, ITA (Husq) 1:43:07
5. Cyril Despres, FRA (KTM) 1:43:49
6. Stefan Svitko, SVK (KTM) 1:44:22
7. Chaleco Lopez, CHL (KTM) 1:44:29
8. Helder Rodrigues, PRT (Honda) 1:44:34
9. Alain Duclos, FRA (Sherco) 1:44:43
10. Ivan Jakes, SVK (KTM) 1:45:27
2013 Dakar Rally Overall Standings after Stage 5
1. Oliver Pain (Yamaha) 11:51:29
2. David Casteu (Yamaha) 11:52:44
3. Cyril Despres (KTM) 11:57:36
4. Ruben Faria (KTM) 12:05:03
5. Jordi Viladoms (Husq) 12:05:05
6. Chaleco Lopez (KTM) 12:05:08
7. Alessandro Botturi (Husq) 12:05:29
8. Jakub Przygonski (KTM) 12:10:29
9. Stefan Svitko (KTM) 12:12:14
10. Daniel Gouet (Honda) 12:14:13
2013 Dakar Rally Overall Standings after Stage 5