Dakar: Yamaha stage 13 report

David slays the Goliaths as 2-Trac wins again. Yamaha Motor France's David Frétigné took his all-wheel-drive Yamaha WR450F 2-Trac to its third stage victory of the 2004 Dakar rally, taking them into the top ten overall, despite having an...

David slays the Goliaths as 2-Trac wins again.

Yamaha Motor France's David Frétigné took his all-wheel-drive Yamaha WR450F 2-Trac to its third stage victory of the 2004 Dakar rally, taking them into the top ten overall, despite having an engine capacity of up to 500cc engine capacity less than his main rivals.

The Dakar rookie won the twisty 478km special between Bamako (Mali) and Ayoun El Atrous (Mauritania) on his revolutionary 2-Trac, which uses a hydraulic motor to provide a regulated amount of drive to the front wheel as well as the back. It was Frétigné's third stage victory of the rally, but his first in the African heartland of the rally.

"That was great -- I really enjoyed myself," declared the 33-year-old Frenchman. "This morning Franck and Christian (mechanics) told me that I could use 100 percent of my engine's power as they changed it yesterday evening and right from the off I felt good on the bike. When I caught and overtook Fabrizio Meoni (KTM 950) I thought to myself, 'not bad, you're in the top five' and concentrated even harder on the road book so as not to make any mistakes. That wasn't easy because the road book's electric motor became disconnected and for 90km I had to wind it on by hand. The stage victory is a really nice surprise. It is my first African Dakar special win and my third since the start of the event. This should silence those who said that a 450 wouldn't be able do anything in the desert. It is a small bike but is easy to ride and has the advantage of not tiring you out. I am really delighted for Jean-Claude Olivier (President of Yamaha Motor France) as his confidence in me has been rewarded -- and it is very encouraging for the future."

Second in today's special was Richard Sainct (KTM 660) with Nani Roma (KTM 660) third. Overall Roma still leads Sainct by 7'25 with Cyril Despres (KTM 660) third (at 45'39). Frétigné is now 10th overall (at 3h02'18) three places and 1h20 ahead of his rival in the 450 class Matteo Graziani.

Tomorrow David will open the piste for leg one of the marathon stage to Tidjika. As with all marathon stages, the riders will then have to do all their own servicing as assistance is forbidden.

For further information on Yamaha's entry in the Dakar rally, please visit www.yamaha-racing.com where you will find daily news updates, copyright-free photography, David Frétigné's biography and technical information on the Yamaha WR450F 2-Trac.

-yamaha-

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About this article
Series Dakar
Drivers Fabrizio Meoni , Cyril Despres , Richard Sainct , Nani Roma , David Fretigne