Dakar: KTM stage 15 report

Cyril Despres gets ready He had no other choice today. Cyril Despres had to attack in order to ward off a possible attack from Marc Coma, his strongest opponent for an overall victory. The Frenchman focused with all his strength and will and he...

Cyril Despres gets ready

He had no other choice today. Cyril Despres had to attack in order to ward off a possible attack from Marc Coma, his strongest opponent for an overall victory. The Frenchman focused with all his strength and will and he was successful. Cyril Despres claimed his second stage win; maybe the most important one in his career. He increased his overall lead on the Spaniard Marc Coma by more than six minutes. This time margin should be sufficient to claim the overall victory and stand on the podium at Lac Rose. Cyril's emotions were torn in different directions. "I am certainly glad to be so close to victory," stated Despres, "I can conquer the leadership relying on my own strength. Tomorrow I will have to focus for a last time so that nothing unexpected will happen. It should actually be a pleasure to race tomorrow. But on the other hand I am so sad because I have lost a dear friend. My conscience tells me that I have done a great job and that I will be winning in consequence of what I have worked for the previous year. But my heart is sad." Cyril Despres has an almost 9 minute lead on Marc Coma and 12 minutes on Alfie Cox.

Marc Coma, the young Spaniard, ranked in 8th place today. He is by no means sad that he cannot compete with Cyril now. "If someone had told me in Barcelona that I'm going to arrive in the second place I would have told him, 'You are crazy.' I am very satisfied."

Each of the competitors, who have reached Dakar today, is desperately looking forward for one simple thing: a shower. The rally followers have abandoned their tents; they all sleep in hotels. Tomorrow they will start on the last special which stretches for 31 km. As any other year the route leads around Lac Rose, the lake with the red tint to it a bit outside of Dakar. It is an exhibition for the audience, team members, friends and families who have followed to Dakar. The start is already a spectacle. The motorbike riders will line up by 20. Everyone will need to highly focus because a crash in result of the mass start would be fatal for the leader. Once again the competitors will have to conquer dunes.

Everyone who crosses the finish line at Lac Rose is a hero. It doesn't matter where he ranks.

1.10 p.m.
Last night Cyril Despres definitely added a bit of excitement. On his way to Tambacounda he didn't keep to the speed limit while passing through one of the villages along the way. For that he was given a 9 minute penalty. Thus in the overall his lead on Marc Coma shrunk to 3'16 minutes.

For today, Cyril had to stick to one tactic: He had to mobilize all his strength to ward off a possible attack from Marc Coma, the Spanish talent. But the Frenchman from Team KTM Gauloises prepared everything for his first Dakar victory. Cyril Despres took the last but one special and clocked a time of 2 hours 27'37 minutes on the 225 km course. Marc Coma came in six and a half minutes behind the winner.

An amateur claimed a 2nd spot and surprised everyone. The Frenchman Alain Duclos on his 450 KTM arrived only 1'24 minutes off the pace. Andy Caldecott from Team KTM Motorex Australia showed another excellent performance in this year's Dakar. He clinched a 3rd place (+ 1'54).

Today's route suited Cyril Despres. Over the last few years he has gained a lot of experience navigating and the many paths through the savanna didn't lead him astray.

-ktm-

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About this article
Series Dakar
Drivers Cyril Despres , Alfie Cox , Marc Coma , Andy Caldecott