The 2013 Dakar Rally came to an end today, after a final day of action that saw the competitors tackling a 121km connecting stage and a 346km special. There were joyous scenes for many, with the day proving to be a chance for some to end the rally with a stage win, whilst for four others; it was simply about stroking it home to claim the overall victory.
Bikes: Despres makes it five as Faria wins the final stage
Frenchman Cyril Despres has won his fifth Dakar rally today. The Red Bull rider had an understandably cautious approach to the final stage, finishing the day fourteenth fastest and three minutes and 58 seconds off the pace. But it didn’t matter with him doing enough to win outright with a margin over ten minutes and 43 seconds over team mate Ruben Faria.
“It’s true that I needed to cross the line and see all these pictures and people here to know that no-one can take this win from me anymore. I went for it, with all the surprises a Dakar can throw at you: little navigational mistakes, perhaps fewer than the others, dosing my motorcycle and a good team.”
“In the end, I’ve got a good reason to be very happy. The day when winning the Dakar becomes easy, it won’t be interesting any more. And this day is still far! It’s too long, it’s too tough, it’s too hot, it’s too cold, you’ve got to rise early in the morning, you’ve got to find your way out of the dune mazes in Peru and Chile, you’ve got to tackle the stones and cactuses on the courses near Córdoba… It’s just too tricky for it to be easy to win. And it’s even better when you win a difficult race,” a delighted Despres said.
“I’m always focused on what I have to do: I think too much about this race to be impressed. We’re up against a gruelling element, the desert. Then there are the stones, the Andes… and we experience them. It’s as real as it gets.”
It was a strong end to the day for Faria too, who won the final stage of the event, but it has to be noted only after benefitting from a fifteen minute penalty for Francisco Lopez. Lopez copped the penalty for changing his engine.
Conditions were not ideal for the start of the stage, with low cloud and rain meaning the start for the bikes was delayed for an hour. But once things did commence, Lopez, who still had a chance of winning the bikes category, was immediately fastest. He posted the fastest time of the opening 41km with Despres at this stage just mirroring his rival, a minute and four seconds behind.
However, they would be split by Joan Barreda Bort, Juan Pedrero Garcia and Helder Rodrigues, with the trio obviously determined to end the rally on a high.
Faria and Frans Verhoeven would then appear towards the top of the time sheets to, with the pair disputing second place, the latter moving to within thirteen seconds of Lopez.
There were few significant changes to the order as the riders completed the first stage of the course, with Lopez posting the fastest time from Faria and Barreda Bort in third. But the Chilean rider’s joy was short lived, with the fifteen minute penalty coming into play for the second timed section.
Lopez would nevertheless start the second start of the special first, but it would be Faria who would end the final day fastest, posting a fastest time of one hour and 43 minutes, which was enough to prevent Barreda Bort by a mere eight seconds. Rodrigues completed the top three, twenty four seconds off Faria’s pace.
But it was Despres who would end the day fastest, knowing he had done enough to claim his fifth Dakar win. Ruben Faria is classified in second, with Francisco Lopez just doing enough to prevent Ivan Jakes from pushing him out of the top three.
Quads: No surprise as Patronelli does enough
For a long time it had looked like Marcos Patronelli had done enough to claim the quad bike category, with him having held an advantage over more than an hour for most of the event. However, the relief was clear to see after he crossed the line today and the result was officially confirmed. It was the Argentine’s second Dakar victory.
“It was spectacular. This Dakar was like a dream come true for me. Everything went smoothly from the first day in Peru to the last in Chile. I’m surprised at how the stages went. It was all thanks to the team, which worked every single night. I’d like to thank Yamaha Argentina and Yamaha France, which provided me every day with a quad that didn’t miss a beat,” Patronelli said.
“This victory means a lot to me. My brother won last year, but I ran into trouble. I was here to get my own back on myself. Ale [Alejandro] and I don’t compete with each other. I wanted to prove myself that I could win again. It was a perfect Dakar from the beginning to the end. It’s the first time that everything’s played out so well.”
He ended the day third fastest, a minute and eighteen seconds off the pace. The honour of completing the rally on top of the time sheets went to South African rider Sarel Van Biljon. He did enough to deny Sebastian Husseini by 37 seconds.
Van Biljon started strongly and was ahead after the opening 41km, leading Lucas Bonetto by fifty seconds, with Patronelli in third at this stage. But things would soon change at the top, with Lukasz Laskawiec dislodging van Biljon from the top of the times by seven seconds.
But van Biljon would find more speed to regain the top spot and end the first part of the course faster than Laskawiec by 58 seconds, with Bonetto third, a minute and twenty seconds behind.
Sebastian Husseini was the man on the move as the riders tackled the last stretch of course, jumping up the time sheets. Despite coming close, he ended the rally second fastest to van Biljon. Patronelli, even consistent, finished a minute and eighteen seconds off the pace, with Laskawiec posting the fourth fastest time.
In the overall standings then, Patronelli’s winning margin over Ignacio Casale classified as one hour and fifty minutes, with Rafal Sonik just doing enough to finish third ahead of Bonetto. Sonik was three hours and sixteen minutes slower than dominant Patronelli, who had been in control of the discipline since the rally started.
Cars: Joy for Peterhansel as he wins his 11th Dakar Rally
Stéphane Peterhansel reconfirmed his status as a Dakar Rally legend by winning his eleventh event today. Like Despres, he completed a conservative on the final stage to end the day tenth fastest, three minutes and 43 seconds off the pace.
However, the Frenchman has done enough in the overall standings. He has not been troubled recently after the Red Bull duo of Carlos Sainz and Nasser Al-Attiyah dropped out several days ago, but his winning margin is now confirmed as 42 minutes over the incredibly consistent Giniel de Villiers.
“It’s a special moment: fifteen days of racing full of emotions and tension and, now, the pressure vanishes all of a sudden. I’m thinking of Jean-Claude Olivier, who passed away last week. He taught me everything I know, so the second week was quite hard because I thought of him throughout. Now I’m dedicating this win to him, and we’ll try to enjoy it despite it all. A race is never won from the beginning. The team did a cracking job. We never stopped, we never had a mechanical. We only had to drive as fast as we could. On the other hand, my co-driver Jean-Paul did an amazing job navigating. We never had to ease up. We always maintained a high pace, apart from the last couple of days, when we started dosing our efforts,” the winner said.
“This is the first time since I started racing in cars that we’ve finished a race without a single mechanical problem. This is the best car I’ve ever driven. It wasn’t an easy victory, because we knew the buggies would be fast. But this situation enabled me to focus from the start of the race. I attacked to open up a gap between me and my rivals. It’s still a strong flavour because we’ve got a whole team behind us. Sven Qandt has been involved in the Dakar for over a decade and he’ll be sharing in this win together with everyone who works with us.”
But it was Nani Roma who would complete a strong end to this second week by once more posting the fastest time of the day. The Mini driver did enough to deny Orlando Terranova the fastest time by just thirteen seconds, with Lucio Alvarez completing the top three, 31 seconds behind.
It was yesterday’s stage winner Robby Gordon who had the best start to the day however, and was ahead of De Villiers by eight seconds after 41km of the stage completed, with Guerlain Chicherit in third.
But Roma would then come through to go even faster than Gordon, beating his time by 34 seconds. Terranova would then take a turn at the front and was fastest after 86km, ahead of de Villiers and Chicherit.
Terranova wouldn’t spend long at the top of the time sheets however, as Roma came through once more to deny him and end the first part of the course fastest, with Terranova being demoted to second and Alvarez moving up to third.
Roma and Terranova would continue their battle over the second timed section, with it eventually being decided in Roma’s favour by just thirteen seconds. Little would change at the top, with Alvarez completing the top three on the final day.
But most attention, unsurprisingly, was for Peterhansel who came through to win yet another Dakar. He now has six wins in the bike category, and five in the cars. The result now means that he has his name written firmly in the record books, with his winning time this year standing at 38 hours and 32 minutes.
De Villiers capitalised on his consistency throughout the event to finish second, with Leonid Novistkiy being the second Mini driver on the podium in third.
Trucks: Nikolaev does it
There was joy for Eduard Nikolaev today, who has won the 2013 Dakar Rally truck category. He has done enough to be victorious with a winning margin over fellow countryman Ayrat Mardeev by 37 minutes. Andrey Karginov completes an all-Kamaz top three and finished just 47 seconds behind Mardeev.
“It hasn’t sunk in yet! I’m full of emotions because, after fighting minute by minute, second by second, throughout fifteen days of racing, I’ve finally made it, I’ve won the Dakar. It’s simply incredible! I’m on cloud nine,” Nikolaev said.
“For me, it’s a dream come true, a dream which began five years ago when I got into a racing Kamaz for the first time as a mere mechanic. I dreamed of winning this rally someday and I did it! I still can’t believe it happened!”
It was Peter Versluis who won the final stage however, doing enough to stop Gerard de Rooy by two minutes and four seconds with Miki Biasion completing the top three. Like others, it was a cautious approach for Nikolaev, who posted the seventh fastest time and was five minutes and 56 seconds off the pace.
It was de Rooy who started the day strongly, posting the fastest time 41km into proceedings, ahead of Karginov. The Dutchman still had a slim chance of taking third place and was clearly a man on a mission after a disappointing set back that saw him lose the overall lead several days ago.
However, he would not stay at the top of the time sheet for long, with Versluis ending the opening part of today’s course fastest. He held a 45 second advantage over Mardeev, with de Rooy dropping to third, just twelve seconds off the pace of Mardeev.
Versluis would do enough to hold onto his lead over the second timed part of the stage and would beat de Rooy by a slender two minutes and four seconds at the finish. It was disappointment for de Rooy however, with him just missing out on snatching third place from Karginov.
Nikolaev however would do enough to claim the overall victory, his winning time being classified as 39 hours and 41 minutes. De Rooy had to settle for fourth in the overall standings, 41 minutes off the pace of the Russian, whilst today’s stage winner, Versluis, ends the 2013 Dakar Rally in seventh, two hours and 32 minutes off the pace.
2012 Dakar Rally stage 14 results
|2||Joan Barreda Bort||Husqvarna||01:43:14||00:00:08|
|1||Sarel van Biljon||E-ATV||01:54:05|
|4||Giniel de Villiers||Toyota||01:45:37||00:01:27|
|2||Gerard de Rooy||Iveco||02:04:44||00:02:04|
2012 Dakar Rally final overall standings
|2||Giniel de Villiers||Toyota||39:15:01||00:42:22|
|4||Gerard de Rooy||Iveco||40:22:59||00:42:16|