Saturday’s opening stage of Dakar 2013 may have been largely ceremonial but on Sunday riders plunged into some difficult territory in a loop circuit around Pisco tackling difficult dunes on Peru’s desert coast. KTM factory riders Ruben Faria and Joan Pedrero finished 2-3 overall behind leader Joan Barreda while Red Bull KTM title defender Cyril Despres is overall fifth.
The stage victory also went to the Spaniard Barrera with Pedrero in second, Faria in fourth, American KTM rider Kurt Caselli, standing in for the injured Marc Coma fifth and South Africa’s Darryl Curtis of the KTM Factory B Team with a strong sixth place finish. Pedrero and Faria, the two long serving KTM Factory support riders and rookie Caselli and Curtis all put in a great day on the sand.
Faria said it was ‘a true Dakar stage’ with loads of off-track riding and high speeds. “This is Peru and I like it. I started seventh this morning but at KM 40 I had some problems finding a waypoint and I set off with Frans Verhoeven, who I then overtook. I then caught up with Cyril (Despres) and we tackled the last big dunes together.”
KTM Factory teammate Pedrero said it had been tough and grueling stage and after starting back at 43rd place he had to deal with a lot of dust. “I had to overtake a lot of people and stay focused but I found the motivation to do it,” he said.
Despres on the other hand was one of a group of top contenders who succumbed to a collective navigational temptation at the 75km mark of the 242km timed special. He and others opted to take a detour around a formidable dune and he now trails the overall leader by eight minutes. Stage One winner Chaleco Lopez (KTM) of Chile was another in this group and he is now down the order at 20th overall.
Canadian Don Hatton has successfully completed the second day of the 15-day long rally. He has moved up to finish the stage 163rd overall in the motorcycle class.
“The bike and the support team are great,” the Duncan, B.C. rider said, “the best I have worked with since I started in Dakar racing in 2008. The sand is a challenge. It is just never ending. And starting late today at the back of the motorcycles makes it even worse, not because of the terrain but because the faster of the cars are catching and passing you at what seems 100 mph while I am trying not to get stuck in the sand. It’s just crazy!”
On Sunday riders first traveled 85km out of Pisco on the liaison stretch before doubling back through the dunes for a grueling 242km in the timed special.
Organizers have promised an even tougher day on Monday when Stage Three takes them from Pisco to Nazca, home to the UN Heritage site of the famous Nazca Lines in the Peruvian Desert over a total distance 343km made up of 100km liaison and another 243km of timed special.
Results Stage Two
Pisco to Pisco– total distance 327km: 85km liaison and 242km special
1, Joan Barreda Bort, Spain, Husqvarna 2 hours 42.31
2, Joan Pedrero, Spain, KTM, 2:45.47
3, Mathew Fish, Australia Husqvarna 2:48.24
4, Ruben Faria, Portugal, KTM 2:48.57
5, Kurt Caselli, USA, KTM 2:49.41
6, Darryl Curtis, South Africa, KTM 2:50.20
7, David Casteu, France, Yamaha 2:50.39
8, Jordi Villadoms, Spain, Husqvarna 2:50.46
9, Israel Esquerre, Chile, Honda, 2:50.50
10, Pal-Anders Ullevalseter, Norway, KTM 2:52.13
Overall standings after two stages
1, Barreda, 3 hours 24.11
2, Faria, 3:29.47
3, Pedrero, 3:30.47
4, Casteu, 3:31.09
5, Cyril Despres KTM, 3:33.01
6, Fish, 3:33.29
7, Curtis, 3:33.30
8, Ullevalseter, 3:33.38
9, Villadoms, 3:33.46
10, Esquerre, 3:33.50
163. Don Hatton, Canada, KTM
–From KTM Racing News and Rally Raid Canada