Saturday’s opening stage of Dakar 2013 may have been largely ceremonial but on Sunday riders plunged into some difficult territory in a loop circuit around Pisco tackling difficult dunes on Peru’s desert coast. KTM factory riders Ruben Faria and Joan Pedrero finished 2-3 overall behind leader Joan Barreda while Red Bull KTM title defender Cyril Despres is overall fifth.
The stage victory also went to the Spaniard Barrera with Pedrero in second, Faria in fourth, American KTM rider Kurt Caselli, standing in for the injured Marc Coma fifth and South Africa’s Darryl Curtis of the KTM Factory B Team with a strong sixth place finish. Pedrero and Faria, the two long serving KTM Factory support riders and rookie Caselli and Curtis all put in a great day on the sand.
Ruben Faria said it was ‘a true Dakar stage’ with loads of off-track riding and high speeds. “This is Peru and I like it. I started seventh this morning but at KM 40 I had some problems finding a waypoint and I set off with Frans Verhoeven, who I then overtook. I then caught up with Cyril (Despres) and we tackled the last big dunes together.”
KTM Factory teammate Pedrero said it had been tough and grueling stage and after starting back a forty-third place he had to deal with a lot of dust. “I had to overtake a lot of people and stay focused but I found the motivation to do it,” he said.
Despres on the other hand was one of a group of top contenders who succumbed to a collective navigational temptation at the 75 km mark of the 242 km timed special. He and others opted to take a detour around a formidable dune and he now trails the overall leader by eight minutes. Stage One winner Chaleco Lopez (KTM) of Chile was another in this group and he is now down the order at twentieth overall.
Speaking from the bivouac in Pisco after Sunday’s stage, KTM Factory team manager Alex Doringer said he was more than happy with the results so far. “It was a very strong result today for our two support riders Ruben Faria and Joan Pedrero and we were also very happy with Caselli. Also Cyril (Despres) is quite happy with his position because he is able to start from behind tomorrow, which will be a very tough stage. Cyril is not only a great rider but also a great tactician and there are many kilometers ahead of us in this year’s edition,” he said. All KTM Factory riders are competing on the KTM 450 Rally bike,
On Sunday riders first traveled 85 km out of Pisco on the liaison stretch before doubling back through the dunes for a grueling 242 km in the timed special.
Organizers have promised an even tougher day on Monday when Stage Three takes them from Pisco to Nazca, home to the UN Heritage site of the famous Nazca Lines in the Peruvian Desert over a total distance 343 km made up of 100 km liaison and another 243 km of timed special.
Image courtesy KTM