Despres and Peterhansel shift into fifth gear!
Frenchman Cyril Despres took his fifth Dakar after finishing 17th in the 14th and last stage of the 2013 edition, won by Chilean Francisco "Chaleco" López, which puts him on par with Cyril Neveu in the race's palmarès and just one win away from Stéphane Peterhansel's record. He can also pride himself on the fact that he helped his Portuguese lieutenant Ruben Faria onto the second step of the podium, rounding off a historic double for the KTM Red Bull Rally Factory Team. The car race saw another Frenchman celebrate his fifth win... on four wheels. Stéphane Peterhansel was crowned in Santiago, broke Ari Vatanen's record for most wins in the car category and raised to 11 the bar for most Dakar victories overall.
But, at the end of the day, the Chilean's last stand changed nothing in the overall classification, where the official KTM team's dominance earned them a one-two. A master strategist on the course, defending champion Cyril Despres took his first back-to-back win and his third victory in South America (2010, 2012 and 2013) to go with his two wins in Africa (2005 and 2007). This fifth triumph puts him on par with Cyril Neveu in the race's palmarès. In the end, he was 10′43″ faster than his lieutenant Ruben Faria, now the highest-placed Portuguese rider in the history of the Dakar, and 18′48″ quicker than local hero Chaleco López. Behind them, a great performance by low-key Slovak Ivan Jakeš: Mr Consistency finished fourth, 23′54″ back but more than 20′ ahead of fifth-placed Spaniard Juan Pedrero.
In the car category, the final stage saw Nani Roma take his fourth win in 2013, more than anyone else, by 13″ over Argentineans Orlando Terranova and Lucio Álvarez. Nevertheless, the Catalan's ninth career win was not enough for him to topple teammate Leonid Novitskiy (seventh today) from the bottom step of the podium. The X-Raid team will no doubt be happy to take four of the top five spots and, most importantly, to defend the title won last year with an unbeatable Stéphane Peterhansel. The Frenchman tackled today's stage just as cautiously as the rest of the last week to finish his 25th Dakar with no surprises and take his fifth victory in the car category, which is also his eleventh overall. Peter ended up beating the consistent South African Giniel de Villiers by 42′22″ and Russian Novitskiy by 1 h 28′22″.