Red Bull KTM factory rider Cyril Despres of France on Saturday picked up his fifth Dakar trophy when he crossed the line of the 2013 edition of the world’s most famous rally as the winner after more than 8000km. It was KTM’s 12th consecutive title and KTM riders took all five top overall places.
Despres’ long time ‘water carrier’ or factory support rider Ruben Faria of Portugal won the final stage and finished second overall, 10 minutes, 43 seconds behind the leader. Chilean Chaleco Lopez (KTM) was third overall while Slovak KTM rider Ivan Jakes was fourth and KTM factory rider Joan Pedrero of Spain was fifth.
“I went for it, with all the surprises a Dakar can throw at you,” Despres 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.”
The Frenchman won Stage three and led the overall standings from Stage 10.
Faria too was thrilled to finish second.
“Yesterday I lost second place and I thought that just being on the podium would be great for me; to be Cyril Despres’ lieutenant,” he explained. “I didn’t believe it could happen that I could finish second. It’s inconceivable.”
Alex Doringer, KTM’s Factory Team Manager praised Despres’ riding, his tactics and strategy and said after the race that he was very proud of his entire team.
“The result is amazing,” he said. “The whole team did an exceptional job and we have to thank them all. We believed in our bikes and we believed in our riders. All seven of our factory riders finished and to have five KTM riders on the top of the list was a fantastic result.”
Despres suffered a major setback in the marathon Stages 7-8 during which riders were unable to call upon outside mechanical help from their team. He was put back on track after being offered the engine from KTM supported rider Marek Dabrowski of the Orlen Team and by the collective effort of his fellow KTM riders who banded together to work at night and change out the engine themselves in the riders’ bivouac.
Kurt Caselli, KTM’s American rider drafted in to ride for injured Marc Coma recovered well to put adversity behind him and finished a creditable 31st.
Results Stage 14 – final stage
La Serena to Santiago: total distance 630km, timed special 128km
1, Ruben Faria, Portugal KTM 1 hour 43.06
2, Joan Barreda, Spain, Husqvarna at 0.08
3, Helder Rodrigues, Portugal, Honda at 0.24
4, Mario Patrao, Portugal, Suzuki at 1.21
5, Olivier Pain, France, Yamaha at 2.14
14, Cyril Despres, France, KTM at 3.58
Final results after 14 stages and over 8,000km from Lima, Peru to Santiago, Chile
1, Despres KTM
2, Faria KTM at 10.43
3, Chaleco Lopez, Chile, KTM at 18.48
4, Ivan Jakes, Slovakia, KTM at 23.54
5, Joan Pedrero, Spain, KTM at 55.29
–From KTM Racing News