Cyril Despres, KTM’s 4 x Dakar winner went out an did the business required on Saturday to take stage and overall victories on the final day of the new six-day Desafio Rally in Argentina, part of the Dakar Series.
On a day that was a mere short dash of some 80 km compared to the other competition days, the French-born rider finished his week’s outing with a win in the final stage just short of a minute behind local rider Mario Gomez with KTM rider Jakub ‘Kuba’ Przgonski in third. That was enough to put Despres and Przgonski 1-2 on the overall podium Gomez picked up the minor podium place.
Despres’ factory teammate, albeit from a different discipline, Taddy Blazusiak, KTM’s Extreme Enduro and EnduroCross specialist, finished a creditable ninth in the final stage. For the Polish rider it wasa heroic nineteenth overall in what could be described as a baptism of fire into the world of rally sport. Currently on a long break from the US EnduroCross competition, Taddy decided to ‘stay on two wheels’ and join his friend Cyril on this latest South American adventure. Completely new to the sport and the finesse of managing the navigation and the road book, Taddy went out and gave it a very good shot. His overall result also reflects the fact that he did not finish stage two after crashing and aggravating an old shoulder injury and on Stage Five he proved to be a very good teammate when he offered his wheel to Cyril after he had wrecked a tire, allowing the leader to keep going and secure the victory.
Going into the final stage Cyril was quietly confident but underlined that ‘anything can happen’ in the last dash for the finish and while the final day was the shortest in terms of kilometers, it was by no means a pushover. The first part of the stage was fast track punctuated with tricky hairpin bends and others that were slow with very different radiuses. They wove their way through a complex maze of palm trees, estuaries and bridges over rivers that flow into the Paraná. To wrap up the day’s rider they tackled a section of loose surface very typical of the Litoral region.
This Dakar series event was not only a good opportunity for Despres, Prozgonski and Blazusiak to keep in shape in the mid season, it was also an excellent opportunity for South American riders to measure themselves against several of the world’s best.
Image courtesy KTM Racing