Central Europe: Series final stage summary

OUTRIGHT VICTORY FOR DAVID CASTEU AND CARLOS SAINZ! The final stage of the rally lived up to expectations with the duel for outright victory in the car category between Carlos Sainz and Stephane Peterhansel. There was less suspense, however,...

OUTRIGHT VICTORY FOR DAVID CASTEU AND CARLOS SAINZ!

The final stage of the rally lived up to expectations with the duel for outright victory in the car category between Carlos Sainz and Stephane Peterhansel. There was less suspense, however, in the bike race where David Casteu controlled the final stage to win this first Central Europe Rally as expected.

The fifth to start this morning, Frenchman David Casteu (KTM) controlled his only rival, Chilean Francisco Lopez (KTM), throughout the 150 km of the last special to finally win, as expected, the first Central Europe Rally, the inaugural event of the Dakar Series. For the native of Nice, this first success as an official KTM rider was a handsome one too: he finished 2'58" ahead of his good friend, Chilean Francisco "Chaleco" Lopez (KTM), who was taking part in his first race for the Austrian team and in the 690 category. Third place in the final general standings, 19'39" behind the winner, went to Alain Duclos (KTM). In the last stage, the Franco-Malian amateur rider grabbed the final step on the podium from Frenchman Cyril Despres, who suffered a fuel problem. As a result, the winner of the 2007 Dakar finished 5th in the general standings, one place behind the winner of the 450 category, Spaniard Jose Manuel Pellicer (Yamaha).

In the car category, the fantastic duel for victory between Carlos Sainz (VW) and Stephane Peterhansel (Mitsubishi), only 18 seconds apart at the beginning of this last special, came to a quick conclusion in the first few kilometres after the Frenchman made a slight navigational mistake at the start of the special. Having lost between 40" and 1 minute as a result, the King of the Dakar decided to make sure he finished 2nd, finally finishing 2'01" behind the winner of the rally-raid World Cup. In the other fight between Blues and Reds for the 3rd place on the podium, it was young German Dieter Depping (VW) who was victorious, 54" ahead of Luc Alphand (Mitsubishi), who came off the track in the final timed section. The next placed driver was Portugal's Carlos Sousa (VW) and then in 6th, Frenchman Bruno Saby, the first BWW driver. Philippe Gache, 8th in the general standings at 57'25" behind Sainz, won the two-wheel drive buggy category.

For the first ever general standings for quads in the history of rally-raids, Frenchman Hubert Deltrieu (Polaris) grabbed glory, 28'52" ahead of his countryman and eternal rival Christophe Declerck (Yamaha), who nonetheless won the last special. Third place went to Slovakian Martin Antal (Polaris).

Finally, in the truck race, the major favourite, Dutchman Hans Stacey (MAN), did not disappoint. In addition to triumphing in the final stage, the winner of the 2007 Dakar claimed outright victory with a lead of 33'43" over his countryman Wulfert Van Ginkel (Ginaf) and 53'18" over Czech Alès Loprais (Tatra).

-credit: aso

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Series Dakar
Drivers Carlos Sainz , Luc Alphand , Dieter Depping , Stéphane Peterhansel , Cyril Despres , Bruno Saby , Philippe Gache , David Casteu , Ales Loprais , Hans Stacey , Francisco Lopez , Jose Manuel Pellicer