The 2013 Dakar Rally waved goodbye to Argentina for another year as the competitors today crossed over the border and back into Chile for the final few days of action. Thankfully, there was no repeat of the adverse weather conditions that hampered yesterday’s running, and as such, all competitors managed to complete the 392km connecting stage and 319km timed special stage.
Bikes: Verhoeven takes the stage as Despres loses time
It was Frans Verhoeven who today claimed stage victory, with the Dutchman enjoying a strong ride to end the day one minute and 38 seconds faster than former leader Ruben Faria. Joan Barreda Bort continued his strong form of late to post another top three time and was just over three minutes off the pace.
It is still all to play for in the bike category with only a few days to go however, with Cyril Despres experiencing a difficult day. He finished today’s stage nine minutes and fifteen seconds off the pace, and lost five minutes to Faria and Francisco Lopez in the overall standings, but still maintains a slim advantage.
It was Barreda Bort who started strongly however, as he took the advantage after 37km with Caselli and Despres completing the top three, 19 and 27 seconds off the pace respectively. Things were not going so strongly for Caselli’s fellow countryman Johnny Campbell however, who was stopped for several minutes just before the 25km point.
Barreda Bort still maintained his advantage 91km in and had extended it to a minute and seventeen seconds over Lopez, with Juan Pedrero Garcia now moving up to third. Ruben Faria was showing his intentions early too and moved up to fourth place at this stage, a minute and 34 seconds off the lead.
At this stage, it didn’t look like there would be any stopping Barreda Bort after the half-way point as he extended his lead further over Lopez to two minutes and 28 seconds, and later to two minutes and forty two seconds after 169km.
However, he would soon make a navigational error, 201km into proceedings, which lost him vital time and allowed Faria to take the initiative and post the fastest time 222km in. Lopez was still second, with Verhoeven giving an intention with what was to come by jumping up to third, just 23 seconds off the pace of Faria.
Kuba Przygonski was another one showing strong form as he moved up the order from 15th to 6th at this stage, and would soon close on Faria for the lead at the 276km marker.
It was Frans Verhoeven who had the strongest end to the stage though, and would therefore end the day fastest. The difficult day for Despres was confirmed in the overall standings however, who now sees his lead slashed to just over five and a half minutes from Faria, with Lopez in third, still in striking distance and just thirteen minutes and 40 seconds off the pace.
“Today was quite a hard special. We had a lot of dunes. We also had a lot of stones – it was very technical. There was also a lot of work on navigation, you had to be very precise on navigating not to get lost. I did quite well all day. I kept on pushing from the start to the finish and I caught about three guys: Faria, Jakes and Duclos. We were riding really hard and really good. I’m very happy to have won this stage and also thanks to Yamaha who gave me this wonderful bike, I couldn’t do without it,” today’s stage winner said.
Quads: Husseini comes good at last
After throwing away a couple of stage victories in recent days through errors, Sebastian Husseini finally silenced his critics today, taking a narrow victory of Marcos Patronelli. He ended the day fastest by just one minute and eight seconds.
Husseini challenged from the early stages, but it was Lucas Bonetto who had the strongest start to the stage of anyone and led Husseini by exactly a minute after 91km, whilst Patronelli looked on for another consistent performance, holding third.
But Bonetto’s time at the top was short lived, with Ignacio Casale taking the advantage from him by seven seconds.
Lukasz Laskawiec was also having a strong performance and he would then better Casale’s time by another nineteen seconds, whilst Bonetto started to drop back a while later as his pace faded 140km into proceedings.
Laskawiec wouldn’t enjoy a long time at the top of the time sheets either though, and would drop one minute and eleven seconds to Casale after 140km of the stage.
169km in and Casale still had a fragile lead of just 52 seconds over Husseini, with Patronelli still maintaining third, a minute and 32 seconds off the pace. At this stage, Bonetto had dropped to fourth, with Laskawiec in fifth.
Things would remain close at the top, with just sixteen seconds separating the top three after 222km. Husseini now lead, with Casale dropping back by ten seconds, with Patronelli closing up in third. Husseini and Patronelli would then raise their pace 276km into the stage, with Casale fading and losing two minutes and five seconds to the former.
Unlike yesterday, Husseini would maintain his advantage to end the day fastest from Patronelli, the Emirati rider’s winning time being classified as four hours and 36 minutes. Patronelli’s consistent run means that he is still the clear favourite to win the category, with his margin over Casale now standing at one hour and 52 minutes.
Cars: Roma steals Gordon’s thunder to win the stage
After some suggested that Robby Gordon’s stage win was perhaps lucky given the stage was shortened yesterday, the American looked determined to silence those critics and win the stage today. However, it was not to be, as Nani Roma claimed another stage victory to steal Gordon’s thunder.
It was the Hummer that was the fastest after just 37km though, with Gordon starting strongly to lead Stéphane Peterhansel by seventeen seconds, with Giniel de Villiers being as consistent as ever. He held third at this stage, just 20 seconds off Gordon’s pace.
But it was to be Guerlain Chicherit who would soon beat Gordon’s first split time to take an advantage of 33 seconds.
However Gordon would hit back not long later, and after 169km had taken command of the lead one more over Peterhansel by a minute and 53 seconds. Chicherit’s charge was derailed however, with the Frenchman losing several minutes with apparent transmission problems, ending any hope he had of posting the fastest time of the day.
Gordon would begin to creep away from the rest, and after 222km, looked in control with a two minute and thirteen second margin over Peterhansel, with Nani Roma four minutes and seventeen seconds behind at this stage.
Not long later, Gordon crossed the line to complete the stage with a time of three hours and 40 minutes, but was still under threat from being knocked from the top spot by a flying Roma. Sure enough, Roma would complete the stage a full four minutes and eighteen seconds to deny the American, with De Villiers ending in fifth, just seven seconds off the pace of Gordon.
Peterhansel ended the day fourth fastest, six minutes and three seconds off the pace, but loses little time to De Villiers in the overall standings. The Frenchman has a comfortable margin of just over fifty minutes over the South African driver.
“To start there were some dunes, some very fast parts, but in the last dunes we got stuck and we lost around 8 or 10 minutes, I don’t know exactly. It was necessary to put low pressure on the tyres, to use the plates, to move the car three or four times, so we got a bit stressed inside the car, but then it was ok,” long-time leader Peterhansel said after today.
“Yes, for sure we can smell victory, but I can remember two times when I have lost the Dakar just on the last day, so we know that anything can happen. I could make a mistake, we could have some technical problems. So, there are still two days left.”
Trucks: Karginov wins the stage to close the gap
Andrey Karginov ended the day fastest today to put pressure on overall leader Eduard Nikolaev, who had a difficult time of it and finished the stage seven minutes and 27 seconds off the pace.
It was Peter Versluis who started the day strongly however, and held a slim lead of fifteen seconds over Martin Kolomy after just 37km. However, the Dutchman would not stay at the top for long, as Kolomy and Versluis were the two to contest the lead after 91km, with the pair split by just three seconds. Miki Biasion held third at this point and was nine seconds behind, with Ales Loprais fifth.
Biasion would take the lead a while later and lead after 169km, with the Italian holding a 25 second advantage over Loprais and Karginov. The latter would be delayed for a short time later, 239km into proceedings.
However, the setback did not deter Karginov and he managed to build a lead of two minutes and nineteen seconds over Ayrat Mardeev after 276km.
He was able to maintain that advantage to the end, finishing the stage in four hours and nine minutes to beat Mardeev by two minutes and 36 seconds. Gerard de Rooy completed the top three and was two minutes and 49 seconds off the pace.
Due to his performance today, Nikolaev’s lead is therefore narrowed in the overall classification to 31 minutes, a sizeable if not insurmountable margin before now and Sunday. Today’s stage winner Karginov still has work to do if he wishes to be in contention for the victory however, and is just over fifty minutes off the pace in third place.
2013 Dakar Rally stage 12 results
|3||Joan Barreda Bort||Husqvarna||03:52:16||00:03:01|
|3||Giniel de Villiers||Toyota||03:40:59||00:04:25|
|3||Gerard de Rooy||Iveco||04:12:33||00:02:49|
2013 Dakar Rally overall standings after 12 stages
|2||Giniel de Villiers||Toyota||33:40:23||00:50:21|
|5||Gerard de Rooy||Iveco||34:08:57||00:56:22|