Cyril Despres didn’t have the best of luck Tuesday, the Frenchman getting stuck in a mud hole aboard his Red Bull KTM 450 Rally.
Due to his mistake, Despres lost valuable overall time to his teammate and rival Marc Coma. This also pushed him to a seventh-place start Wednesday morning for Stage Nine, which took the motorcycle competitors from Antofagasta to Iquique 413 miles.
Regardless of his Stage Eight performance, Despres began an immediate attack on Wednesday, taking the stage by 3:54 ahead of Coma, and 8:28 ahead of Husqvarna’s Bort Barreda.
More importanlty, though, Despres took the overall lead in 2012 Dakar, having 2:28 over Coma after nine of 14 stages.
Cyril Despres (Red Bull KTM 450 Rally) says: “Obviously I started this morning with the firm intention of pulling back some lost time. Unfortunately things didn’t go quite according to plan as I got stuck behind another rider for over 100 kilometres!
“Still I finished the first special about three and a half minutes up. Then on the second special both Marc and I attacked very hard. So hard in fact that we took about seven minutes off third placed man Barreda in 90 kilometres – and he’s a quick moto-x rider! Physically I didn’t feel too bad on the bike, after yesterday’s excursions in the mud, but now, having arrived at the bivouac I’m feeling pretty stiff all over.”
Stage 10 on Wednesday will take the motorcycle competitors 431 miles along the Pacific Coast from Iquique to Arica, with 234 miles timed.