KTM’s Cyril Despres put in a solid day’s ride across the Andes to San Juan on Wednesday to retain the overall lead by 1 hour 20’54" as the Dakar "caravan" 2010 returned to Argentina. Despres was seventh in the 11th stage but only 4’21" behind the stage leader Frans Verhoeven.
Despres said it had been a nice stage and confirmed he is having too much fun to hold back for the sake of caution. "It was strange at the beginning, because after 13 km, there was a banner stopping us following a track," he said after the day’s ride.
Number 2 for Lopez
In Copiapo, "Chaleco" Lopez won his second stage in Chile this year and steps onto the provisional podium for the Dakar, on which Ullevalseter also climbed a step, but still with a big gap to race leader Despres. In the car race, the stage was won by a competitor running after a lost cause: Stéphane Peterhansel, 4th in the general standings more than two hours behind Sainz, grabbed his 54th stage victory. In the truck category, Vladimir Chagin was also the quickest in the stage for the 54th time on the Dakar.
Riders in the Dakar 2010 tackled their penultimate day in the dry and daunting Atacama Desert near Chile’s Pacific coastline for Stage Eight with KTM’s Marc Coma placing second by just 42 second behind local favorite Francisco Lopez while overall leader Cyril Despres finished fifth.
Marc Coma’s Mission
The many navigation mistakes of his contenders allowed Marc Coma to finish with the best time of the day in the bike category and to move up four places in the overall standings. Moreover Italian rider Luca Manca, who was ranking ninth this morning in the overall standings, had to be evacuated from the track after a very serious fall in the early hours of the stage (see special press release). In the car category, Stéphane Peterhansel beat all three top Volkswagen winning the 53rd special stage of his Dakar career.
Francisco Lopez wins a second special stage in his Dakar career in Chile once again and strategically places himself as the true challenger of Cyril Despres following him at 37’37” in the standings after a gloom and doom stage for Casteu – who had to withdraw – and for Coma. In the car category, Stéphane Peterhansel drops down the standings. His misfortune is a blessing for Volkswagen with Mark Miller winning his first special stage on a Dakar and Sainz taking the lead in the standings.
Dakar Stage Five Results
Click video to see the highlights from Stage Five (5) of the 2010 Dakar. Francisco Lopez wins a second special stage in his Dakar career in Chile once again and strategically places himself as the true challenger of Cyril Despres following him at 3737 in the standings after a gloom and doom stage for Casteu who had to withdraw and for Coma.