Yamaha’s Despres Takes Lead in Rally dos Sertoes (Video)

Yamaha's Cyril Despres
Yamaha’s Cyril Despres

2013 Rally dos Sertoes Stage 6 Results

The 2013 Rally dos Sertoes in Brazil, round five in the FIM Cross-Country Rallies Championship, ended Wednesday with a new leader – Yamaha Racing Dakar’s Cyril Despres.

The Frenchman, who switched to Yamaha after years with KTM, won stage six following smart preservation of the tires on his YZF450F Rally. The five-time Dakar Rally winner also won stage four on Monday.

The two-leg marathon stages five and six were run Tuesday and Wednesday, the riders receiving no mechanical attention from their crews. On Tuesday, Despres concentrated on strategy, finishing third behind winner Marc Coma (KTM) during stage five that took riders almost 200 miles from Porangatu to Natividade.

With grippy tires, Despres tackled Wednesday’s 150-mile stage that took riders from Natividade to Palmas without issue. Despres took the stage win just under a minute clear of Brazilian rider Jean Azevedo and move into the lead of the overall Rally by over five minutes. Polish rider Jakub Przygonski (KTM) finished third in stage six.

Speedbrain Rally 450 rider Paulo Gonclaves is second overall, 5:15 behind Despres. Jakub is third overall, 22:08 behind Despres. As for Coma, he suffered rear rim issues, falling back to seventh overall, 38 minutes behind.

Cyril Despres (Yamaha Racing Dakar 450 Rally) says: “Given that I lost a place overall yesterday it might have seemed strange, but I was really delighted with how everything went.

“As we were on a marathon stage we weren’t allowed to change our tires last night so the priority was to preserve the tires as much as possible while losing as little time as possible. And if you could see the condition of my rear Michelin compared with everybody else’s tires you’d understand why was so happy. You couldn’t say it was like new but I had a lot more tread left than the others.

“Starting third on the road this morning I came up behind Marc Coma quite quickly on the special and it was obvious he was in difficulties with his rear mousse. Then not long after that I caught a ‘reluctant’ piste opener, Paulo Goncalves, and led him all the way to refueling.

“The closer I got to the end of the special the more I accelerated and over the last kilometers rode flat out to finally finish around 6 minutes ahead of Paulo. From the tyre tests we did with the Yamaha and Michelin a month or so before the start of this race I had a reasonably good idea how to approach this marathon stage and the result is everything I had hoped for – but it hasn’t been an easy couple of days.

“The whole time on the bike I was conscious of taking care of the rear tyre and mousse, while not losing too much time and constantly calculating the remaining distance and the situation of my rivals. The mental gymnastics were almost more tiring than riding the bike! This evening it is clear we are in a good position, but there is still a long way to go and myself and the whole team will be staying focused on the job still to do.”

There will be another great endurance test Thursday. Its a day to enter the dreaded Jalapao desert, covering the largest Special of all times – with 514 Km – and the largest total distance so far: over 460 miles. A very complete Special, with all kinds of terrains. Competitors will make a loop, leaving Palmas and returning to Palmas.

Attached above are FIM video highlights of stage six in the 2013 Rally dos Sertoes.