After the two first relatively straightforward stages, the 2011 Dakar Rally got into its stride today with more technical terrain.
Cyril Despres on his Red Bull KTM 450cc motorcycle paid the price of opening the piste to finish in second place 2:21 behind Marc Coma (KTM), with Paulo Goncalves third at 3:36. Olivier Pain, from France, riding his Yamaha finished fourth at 4:34 with Ruben Faria in fifth at 5:46.
Overall Cyril maintains his motorcycle racing lead by just 14 seconds ahead of rival Marc Coma with Ruben Faria (Red Bull KTM) third at 9:38. Paolo Goncalves from Portugal on his BMW sits fourth at 10:43 and Jose Rodrigues from Brazil, also on a BMW sits fifth at 16:07.
Cyril Despres says: "Not a great day. There were a lot of people at the start of the special and so I took care and as a consequence struggled to find my rhythm. I went better as the stage continued, but I can’t say I am really satisfied with how I rode."
"Still that’s the Dakar – you can’t be at 100% all the time. Tomorrow we go over Andes mountains into Chile and it is always a magic moment. The scenery will be stunning – like you are on top of the world."