Dakar: Yamaha stage 16 report

David Frétigné fifth overall and 450 class winner David Frétigné (Yamaha WR450F - Yamaha MF Gauloises Ipone) got off to a perfect start in the prestigious last stage around Lac Rose, Dakar and led for most of the special. Finally David ...

David Frétigné fifth overall and 450 class winner

David Frétigné (Yamaha WR450F - Yamaha MF Gauloises Ipone) got off to a perfect start in the prestigious last stage around Lac Rose, Dakar and led for most of the special. Finally David finished his last stage of the 2005 Dakar in 6th place 1'05 behind the stage winner Kellon Walch. However Frétigné's second participation in the legendary rally was a big success, meeting all his objectives. The 34-year old Frenchman finished 5th overall, he was the only rider to have won three specials this year and he repeated his 450 class win of last year.

Cyril Despres (KTM) was the overall winner in the bike race, ahead of Coma and Cox. Dutch Dakar debutant Frans Verhoeven rode his WR450F to an excellent 16th overall, third in the production 2 class. While Belgian Jeroen Ramon proved his determination and the reliability of the small WR250F finishing 63rd overall and winning the production1 class. Even more remarkable Ramon was one of the few riders ever to have finished the rally on a 250 bike, last year Jeroen already managed 53rd on his WR250F. Legendary Yamaha rider and six-time winner of the bike race Stephane Peterhansel conquered his second win on four wheels.

"The last special on the Dakar beach was very short, but also very intense," commented David Frétigné. "I only missed the win by a couple of hundred meters. I was leading until 200 meters before the finish. When I came up to a hole, I slowed down but I was passed by Isidre Esteve who was just behind me. I didn't crash in the end, but Esteve did. However he got back up again and managed to finish 13 seconds ahead of me after a furious attack."

Rarely the Dakar delivered as many surprises (good and bad) as the 27th edition did this year. Four stages were cancelled because of bad weather (sandstorms) or after the death of Fabrizio Meoni. Four riders leaded provisional standings during the rally: David Frétigné during the first four stages, Marc Coma, Fabrizio Meoni and finally Cyril Despres. The distance covered was close to 9.000 km, of which 5.000 km of special divided between Spain, Marocco, Mauritania, Mali and Senegal.

"One thing is for sure, I'll have a lot of memories on the Dakar 2005. My three stage wins, and a new victory in the 45o class. The WR450F doesn't cease to amaze me, it's simply the most reliable and most pleasant bike I have ever raced. Overall I'm very satisfied, my goal was to finish between the third and fifth position of the overall standings and I'm fifth. If the officials gave me back the time I lost when I stayed with Fabrizio (Meoni) waiting for the doctors, I would have been third. But it doesn't really matter, the most important thing for me is to know that one day I can win the Dakar and that I'm a real contender among the best riders. Now I'm looking forward to a small celebration of our fifth place, and then I'll take two weeks off. My programme for the rest of the year includes the Enduro World championship and preparation for the Dakar next year. It's very good for me to be sure that I can come back here next year to battle with the best rally raid riders in the world."

-yamaha-

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Series DAKAR