Dakar: KTM stage two report

Slippery when wet Danger! The riders had to pay attention today. The second stage of the 29th Dakar Rally was a tricky one. The loop near Portimao was not very long, but the fog and the clay made it a very dangerous special. Many of the lesser...

Slippery when wet

Danger! The riders had to pay attention today. The second stage of the 29th Dakar Rally was a tricky one. The loop near Portimao was not very long, but the fog and the clay made it a very dangerous special.

Many of the lesser skilled riders fell, those with trial experience had some advantage in the Portuguese hills. Cyril Despres (KTM Gauloises) found out the hard way what the track was like. Halfway in the stage, near kilometer 30, Despres missed a corner and fell in a gorge. The winner of the 2005 Dakar didn't sustain any injuries, but his bike was badly damaged. The fueltank was cracked, some of the levers were broken.

Despres managed to get out of the ravine himself, but needed the mechanical help of his teammate Frans Verhoeven to continue. Luckily the Dutchman was very close behind and was able to repare the bike as good as it gets. Despres lost 5.45 minutes to Portuguese winner Helder Rodrigues and finished 26th. Verhoeven lost 6.25 and finished in 36th position. David Casteu (4th, just behind Isidre Esteve Pujol) really enjoyed the ride. 'It was like home, with the smell of the mimosa. I was happy enough to stay on the bike. The leg injury I sustained in the first special didn't bother me anymore. I had a good massage and I am build like a horse.'

Marc Coma (KTM Repsol) again didn't take any risks and finished with a fifth time. 'It was very slippery, like riding on ice. I can imagine the power was a disadvantage today, but after a few kilometers I was understood how to use the power of the bike in a way that was helpful.'

As the rest of the KTM factoryriders Coma is looking forward to Africa. 'The first stage in Morocco will be one for the best navigators. I trust in my own skills. It will be a combination of navigation, paying attention and try to keep the pace as high as possible.'

-credit: ktm

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About this article
Series Dakar
Drivers Cyril Despres , Marc Coma , Isidre Esteve , David Casteu , Frans Verhoeven , Helder Rodrigues