Red Bull KTM factory riders completed Stage One of the 2013 Dakar rally on Saturday with a short timed special of just 13 km in a loop around Pisco, Peru after completing the 250 km liaison rider along the coast for the official start in the capital of Lima.

The top 32 riders were all within a minute of the leader Chaleco Lopez of Chile riding a KTM with Cyril Despres, KTM’s title defender in fifth place just 13 seconds behind. KTM Factory rider Kurt Caselli (USA), who is standing in for the injured Marc Coma finished at thirty second place in the field of 180 bikes, of which 178 were at the finish line. He trailed the leader by just one minute. The Orange factory riders are competing on the KTM 450 Rally bike

KTM team manager Alex Doringer said he had instructed his riders to take no risks in what was largely a ceremonial start to the grueling 8000 km plus rally that takes competitors on a north-south trajectory from Lima into Argentina and Chile to finish on January 20.

“I am happy with the riders,” Doringer said. “I just wanted them to take it easy and find their rhythm. The serious business starts tomorrow.”

On Sunday riders face another loop from and around Pisco but this time there will be 242 km of timed special and just 85 km of liaison and this will represent the first real shakeout of the 2013 edition. Organizers have promised tough going and plenty of challenges in the first half of the rally this year.

Image courtesy KTM

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