For a second day, weather has had a major impact on the Dakar Rally today. The original plan had been for competitors to run on a 256km connecting stage before tackling a 219km special. Whilst bikes and quad bikes managed to complete most of the course, heavy flooding meant that the route for the cars and trucks was shortened. The times after checkpoint one were used to determine the stage winners.
Bikes: Things looking good for Despres
American rider Kurt Caselli today won his second stage of the rally with a strong performance that saw him beat Paulo Goncalves by four minutes and 45 seconds. However, Cyril Despres cemented his place at the top of the overall standings with a solid run to third place.
Initially, it was Hélder Rodrigues who started well, and after 51km was in the lead, with a lead of one minute and 30 seconds over Francisco Lopez, with Goncalves and Caselli third and fourth, split only by eight second.
Things were not going so well for others however, with Ivan Jakes making a navigational error that also caught out a handful of other riders, whilst Stefan Svitko was also delayed for several minutes with a technical problem.
After 83km, Caselli emerged ahead, taking the advantage from Rodrigues and holding a one minute and 41 seconds advantage. Goncalves maintained third at this stage with Despres losing time and dropping to sixth, four minutes and 51 seconds behind.
The American was still leading after 120km, albeit slightly losing some of his advantage to Rodrigues which had been narrowed now to just eighteen seconds, with Juan Pedrero Garcia in third, four minutes and five seconds off the pace.
However, sand dunes were once again starting to become an issue for some, with Hans-Jos Liefhebber being one of the first to encounter difficulties. Technical difficulties were also afflicting many, including Gerard Farres Guell, British rider James West, as well as Peruvian duo Bruno Chichizola and Jacques Barrón.
Caselli never looked in trouble for the remainder of the course and therefore claimed his second stage win in dominant fashion over Goncalves and Despres. His winning time was just over two hours and 55 minutes. Pedrero Garcia ultimately had to settle for fourth after a strong run.
Despres therefore strengthens his lead over team mate Ruben Faria to thirteen minutes and sixteen seconds in the overall standings, but does have a time penalty. Lopez maintains third and is eighteen minutes off the pace, whilst today’s stage winner finds himself in 30th position.
“The stage in Fiambala always holds surprises in store. I’m more tired today after 190 km than I was for the day before yesterday over more than 800 km. There was a storm in the dunes and it started raining. It wasn’t easy to navigate. We came across some streams full of mud and water, which brought back bad memories from last year. I don’t know what today means in terms of results, but I’m just happy to be here without too many problems. Fiambala really is a sh**-hole. We spent time in the water walking alongside the bike,” Despres said after today.
“Today, everyone was a little bit calmer, but I knew it would be complicated. I’m surprised that I haven’t seen more riders finish behind me, because at one point, there were 6 or 8 of us riding together. The pace went up a lot after Kurt overtook me. Perhaps that’s why I’m a bit tired!”
Quads: Smith shocks to take the stage
Australian Paul Smith was the surprise winner of today’s quad bike category. He won his first stage of this year’s Dakar with a comfortable advantage of four minutes and eighteen seconds over Gaston Gonzales. After a fairly anonymous performance yesterday, Marcos Patronelli returned to the top three today and was five minute and 42 seconds off the pace, the Argentine surely just trying to avoid any problems before now and the end of the rally.
Things started badly for several riders, with Sebastian Husseini, Laurent Durverney-Pret, Rafal Sonik, Tomas Maffei and yesterday’s stage winner, Lukasz Laskawiec all making navigational errors and losing time just 33km into proceedings.
Ignacio Casale was another one to lose time early on, losing around a dozen minutes after apparently becoming stuck in the sand.
As such, it was a trio of surprise riders who made the early running after 51km, with Peruvian Umbert Okumura leading Smith by a minute and eighteen seconds, with Argentine Luciano Gagliardi rounding out the top three.
It was Smith who would move ahead after 83km though, with Gagliardi second and Sebastian Palma moving into third. At this stage, Patronelli had work to do after also making a navigational error and was outside the top ten.
Smith would not have it all his own way though, and was challenged by Husseini who came close to winning the stage yesterday. Husseini trailed Smith by only a minute and 40 seconds after 120km, and then shortly after took the lead and immediately built an advantage of just over two minutes as the competitors passed the 200km mark.
But Smith would have the last laugh as Husseini made a late navigational error to throw away a stage win and end the day fifth fastest. Smith’s winning time was three house and 46 minutes, with Husseini losing just over sixteen minutes in the final few kilometres.
In the overall standings Patronelli extends his lead once more thanks to Casale’s misfortune today to almost a full two hours, with Sonik still maintaining third.
Cars: Gordon finally does it
After an eventful start to this year’s Dakar rally by even the American’s own standards, Robby Gordon finally proved his critics wrong today to take his first stage win on a shortened day. He saw off a late challenge from Ronan Chabot to end the day fastest.
It was Gordon’s Hummer in command after 51km though and already held a substantial margin of 59 seconds over Lucio Alvarez, with the ever consistent Giniel de Villiers in third, a minute and 46 off the pace. Stephane Peterhansel, no doubt playing the percentage game, was fourth at this stage.
Chabot would briefly take the lead with a sizeable advantage of over a minute, before the call came to end the action prematurely with organisers electing Gordon as the stage winner with his advantage being 38 seconds over the Frenchman. Alvarez was classified in third.
Peterhansel maintains his advantage in the overall standings. He finished today’s action sixth fastest and now has an advantage of 51 minutes over de Villiers.
“On every day that brings us closer to the finish, it’s important to finish them without making any big mistakes, so it gets us nearer to the podium. It hasn’t turned out too badly at all for us today. But we were driving calmly. We were being careful where we put the wheels, trying to avoid going too deep into the river bed,” the overall leader said after today.
“It’s better to lose a few seconds trying to find the right place to pass than losing several minutes stuck in the mud or water. We did see some water, but when we went through it wasn’t catastrophic. But it’s like what happened a few days ago, the water level can rise quickly and it can get quite deep within a matter of minutes.”
Trucks: de Rooy claims shortened stage.
Gerard de Rooy claimed the shortened stage victory today with a 56 second margin over Ales Loprais.
In the overall standings, Russia’s Eduard Nikolaev still maintains the lead, but Ayrat Mardeev now moves up to second, taking advantage of the problems experienced by Martin Kolomy today, who drops to third.
2013 Dakar Rally stage eleven results
|5||Giniel de Villiers||Toyota||00:54:46||00:04:25|
|1||Gerard de Rooy||Iveco||00:54:47|
2013 Dakar Rally overall standings after eleven stages
Results not yet in
|5||Gerard de Rooy||Iveco||29:56:24||01:00:00|