The Dakar 2013 has officially ended with a spectacular victory and closing ceremony after 8,000 km later after 14 stages in Santiago de Chile. The dominating brand has been – once again – KTM with capturing the top five positions.
KTM factory rider Cyril Despres picked up his fifth Dakar trophy when he crossed the line of the 2013 edition of the world’s most famous rally. It was KTM’s twelfth consecutive title.
Cyril Despres’ long time »water carrier« and factory support rider Ruben Faria of Portugal won the final stage and finished second overall, 10:43 minutes behind the leader. Chilean Chaleco Lopez (KTM) was third overall while Slovakian KTM rider Ivan Jakes was fourth and KTM factory rider Joan Pedrero of Spain was fifth.
The French rider, a veteran of this amazing race said it all after securing his fifth title: »I went for it, with all the surprises a Dakar can throw at you,« Despres said. »Little navigational mistakes, perhaps fewer than the others, taking care of my motorcycle and being in 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 get up early in the morning. You’ve got to find your way out of the maze of dunes 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. I’m always focused on what I have to do. 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.«
Despres won Stage Three and led the overall standings from Stage Ten.
The Dakar 2013 had more than its share of dramatic moments for the KTM Factory team, including the last minute withdrawal just before the race by Despres’ long time teammate and rival Marc Coma.
Despres also suffered a major setback in the marathon Stages 7-8 during which riders were unable to call upon outside mechanical help from their team. He was put back on track after being offered the engine from KTM supported rider Marek Dabrowski of the Orlen Team and by the collective effort of his fellow KTM riders who banded together to work at night and change out the engine themselves in the riders’ bivouac.
With two riders in the top ten the debut of Honda HRC at the Dakar turned out to be a success. The HRC Team celebrated the arrival on the podium with HRC President Tetsuo Suzuki. He congratulated Helder Rodrigues, Javier Pizzolito and Johnny Campbell, who finished respectively 7th, 8th and 40th in the overall classification.
»I’m very proud of this team«, said Tetsuo Suzuki, »all three riders completed the whole rally and everybody worked so hard to get the best possible result. Dakar has a special fascination as it is the toughest rally in the world and requires machine reliability, strong riders and strategic team work. This year’s results are promising and we will continue to work on the development of the CRF 450 Rally to return stronger next year.«
The Husqvarna Rallye Team by Speedbrain was considered to be a podium threat upon only its second participation. Although the team ultimately couldn´t quite meet the expectations, the squad led by Team Manager Wolfgang Fischer is satisfied with the result. Altogether 12 podium spots were achieved, among them four stage victories.
Wolfgang Fischer, Team Manager Husqvarna Rallye Team by Speedbrain: »We took part with a great team and well prepared. The stage victories and the many podium spots have emphasised the winning capabilities of the team. We all could see that especially Joan Barreda is a certain front-runner. After the Dakar is before the Dakar, that´s why we together with our partner Husqvarna Motorcycles and the BMW Group will start into the new season already next week.«
Yamaha and the French
Leading the rally for a moment French veteran David Casteu had to withdraw after a collision with a cow. The of his Yamaha tank became leak and David himself injured his arm. »I was roughly at km 100 and riding calmly, without pushing it too hard. I was hot on the heels of Pedro Bianchi when a cow popped out of a turn. I hit it with the handlebar and fell hard on my shoulder. My fuel tank got a hole in it, so I quite obviously ran out of petrol. Vincent Guindani gave me some and I managed to finish the first part. The doctors strapped my shoulder so I could start the second special, but my motorcycle stopped 30 km from the finish. I think it was a sign: I had to stop. It wasn’t worth it. I wanted to fight at the front. I already had my fair share of bad luck in 2011 and 2012. I’m going back home tomorrow. It’s a hard blow. One day you’re crying of joy and the next you’re crying of pain and sadness«, resumes David.
Only one position behind his aim Yamaha mounted Frenchman Olivier Pain finished sixth. »I had an amazing first week, leading the rally for five stages. Then, a small navigational mistake cost me dearly. I started the first week further back and had a run of bad luck. I fell on my back and, during the same stage, I got a hole in my tank and lost loads of time. Then, I hurt my elbow. I calmed down for a while in order to recover, and over the last few days I managed to claw my way back up the classification. Now I’m sixth. I was aiming for the Top 5, I’m just outside it but the first week makes up for it all. It was a nice Dakar for me«, is Olivier’s summary of his race.
Gallery Dakar 2013
© images: KTM/Maragni, David Casteu, Honda HRC, Speedbrain/Husqvarna