Dakar: Yamaha stage 16 report

David Frétigné recorded the sixth fastest time on today’s special stage between Nouakchott and Dakar to retain his lead in the 450 class and seventh in the overall standings. Victory on the last ‘real’ special of the rally went to ...

David Frétigné recorded the sixth fastest time on today’s special stage between Nouakchott and Dakar to retain his lead in the 450 class and seventh in the overall standings.

Victory on the last ‘real’ special of the rally went to Richard Sainct (KTM660), 2’05 ahead of Nani Roma (KTM660), with Cyril Despres third (at 2’24). The result made no major impact on the overall standings, with Roma now holding a five minute lead over Sainct with Despres third at 46’48.

Frétigné (at 3h27’55), well ahead of his rival for the 450 class victory Matteo Graziani (11th at 6h06’52). There was also some good news for the 33-year-old Frenchman as he nears the end of his Dakar debut –

last night his Yamaha Motor France team found the lost time card that caused him to receive a 15 minute penalty yesterday.

He explained: “Yesterday evening, as we were working on the bike, we found the time card stuck in the air intake and now they have given me back the 15 minutes I was penalised yesterday. Apart from that everything was going well today until the first checkpoint. I reckon that at that point I was in the lead then, heading towards checkpoint two I couldn’t find my way - until I realised that I wasn’t in the village I thought I was!

"I haven’t navigated without the GPS before (GPS was banned from today’s stage) and it takes a bit of getting used to – especially if you have a problem with your trip meter like I do! When you ride around looking for the right way you have the impression you are losing huge amounts of time, but in the end I finished in sixth place, only seven minutes behind the winner. It is a pity that I got lost though, because the going was quite technical and that really suits our bike. Without that I might have won my fourth special.”

Tomorrow will be David’s last chance to get that fourth stage win. The competitors can feel the end in sight now. They will spend the night in Dakar, before tomorrow’s final day. They will cover a total of 106km, the finale of which is a 27km timed special on the famous Lac Rose beach, just outside the Senegalese capital.

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About this article
Series Dakar
Drivers Cyril Despres , Nani Roma , David Fretigne