Cordoba to San Miguel de Tucuman
After learning late that he won Stage 1 of the 2011 Dakar Rally in Argentina, Cyril Despres was unstoppable on Monday for Stage 2.
Despres, of Andorra, took his second consecutive victory at the Personal Dakar Argentina Chile 2011 aboard the KTM 450 Rally, leading fellow KTM rider Marc Coma by 2 minutes and 35 seconds in the general standings.
Cyril Despres says: "Today the track was full of bends and very skiddy, like a 300-km giant slalom with jumps, like skiing. I noticed at the refueling point that I’d taken almost a minute less than Coma.
"I was feeling good, so I decided to attack a bit in the second part, though I was careful to look after my tires because I nearly wore them through today. The most important thing is to find a god pace and have the right feeling. For the moment, the riding demands a lot of concentration."
When the Frenchman Despres completed the 300-km Dakar special, he won the 25th Dakar stage of his career; it is only the third time that he has triumphed when opening the road.
Despres also completed a hard feat in the Dakar; he stayed out front from start to finish at Stage 2, opening a gap on Coma. Despres finished 1:49 ahead of Coma.
Marc Coma says: "It was a long stage, 300 km with lots of riding and virtually no navigation. I managed to get past Ruben Faria after losing a bit of time, so I tried to push on to make up time, but the main priority was to look after the tires. Towards the end I slowed down a little to take it easy until the finishing line."
Third fastest after Stage 2 at Dakar 2011 wrapped up was Despres’ co-rider, Ruben Faria. Overall, the Portugal KTM rider is 6:13 seconds behind in the overall 2011 Dakar Rally.
Faria initially took first on Sunday for Stage One (of 13) at 2011 Dakar, but later received a penalty for speeding, dropping him back to second.
Taking fourth at Dakar was David Casteu on his Sherco motorcycle. Casteu wasn’t quick in Stage 1, but was the quickest pursuer of the KTM motorcycles during Stage 2.
David Casteu says: "I asked for news about the spectator that I hit yesterday and he only has two broken ribs, so I’m very relieved, because it wasn’t a very easy evening to go through yesterday.
"Today, I was still thinking about it, but there were much less people on the tracks and I was able to attack a lot. I ended up in the dust of Rodrigues, Viladoms and Verhoeven. I even managed to overtake them, but it wasn’t easy. At one point, I was traveling at 163 kmph, which is not bad at all for a 450cc. The bike is working very well and I’m really enjoying riding it."
Trailing the leading duo by 3:46 seconds, Casteu climbed up to sixth position in the general standings, but remains behind Francisco "Chaleco" Lopez on the Aprilia RXV 450 Tuareg and Paulo Gonçalves on the BMW G450 RR.
Francisco "Chaleco" Lopez says: "I really had fun on this special. It was a stage that really suited my bike. Mind you, I suffered because of the dust quite a bit and it was difficult to catch up with the riders ahead. The race has really started for me now. It’s been a positive day."
On Tuesday, the Dakar Rally takes riders from San Miguel to San Salvador de Jujuy over 231 km of road and a mammoth 521 km special where they encounter desert canyons and earth tracks before entering thick forest.
2011 Dakar Stage 2 Results
1. Cyril Despres, Andorra, KTM 03:19.11
2. Marc Coma, Spain, KTM, at 1.49
3. David Casteu, France, Sherco at 3.46
4. Francisco Lopez, Chile, Aprilia, 4.06
5. Ruben Faria, Portugal, KTM, at 5.42
2011 Dakar Overall Standings after Stage 2
1. Cyril Despres, Andorra, KTM 05:17.42
2. Marc Coma, Spain, KTM, at 2.35
3. Ruben Faria, Portugal, KTM, at 6.13 (Penalty 00:01.00)
4. Francisco Lopez, Chile, Aprilia, at 6.51
5. Paolo Goncalves, Portugal BMW, 9.28